For the past two decades, bisulfite sequencing has been a widely used method for quantitative CpG methylation detection of genomic DNA. Coupled with PCR amplicon cloning, bisulfite Sanger sequencing allows for allele-specific CpG methylation assessment; however, its time-consuming protocol and inability to multiplex has recently been overcome by next-generation bisulfite sequencing techniques. Although high-throughput sequencing platforms have enabled greater accuracy in CpG methylation quantitation as a result of increased bisulfite sequencing depth, most common sequencing platforms generate reads that are similar in length to the typical bisulfite PCR size range (~300-500 bp). Using the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) sequencing platform, we developed single molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing (SMRT-BS), which is an accurate targeted CpG methylation analysis method capable of a high degree of multiplexing and long read lengths. SMRT-BS is reproducible and was found to be concordant with other lower throughput quantitative CpG methylation methods. Moreover, the ability to sequence up to ~1.5-2.0 kb amplicons, when coupled with an optimized bisulfite-conversion protocol, allows for more thorough assessment of CpG islands and increases the capacity for studying the relationship between single nucleotide variants and allele-specific CpG methylation.
Journal: Methods in molecular biology