Christoph Bock discusses his recent paper ‘Single-Cell DNA Methylome Sequencing and Bioinformatic Inference of Epigenomic Cell-State Dynamics‘ published in Cell Reports.
Epigenetic Regulation of Cell States
In this first section Christoph tells us why he is interested in studying the epigenetic regulation of cell states and how his new method helps to look at the epigenetics of single cells in order to gain a greater insight into how cell states are controlled by DNA methylation.
New Single-Cell Methylome Sequencing Method
Christoph introduces the new method for DNA methylation sequencing of single cells, which involves bisulfite conversion. Bisulfite conversion is fairly destructive to DNA and can result in a lot of lost information. In this new method bisulfite treatment occurs at the beginning of the protocol followed by a single-stranded library preparation, which can rescue even highly damaged DNA, meaning less information is lost compared to the usual protocol.
Coping with Loss of DNA in Single-Cell Analysis
Loss of DNA is an unavoidable problem in single cell analysis. In order to deal with this issue Christoph and his team have created a new bioinformatic method for analysis of single-cell methylation data.
Single-Cells Progress Through Differentiation at Different Rates
Not only has Christoph and his team created a new method, they apply this to look at how single cells progress through differentiation and showing that while differentiating cells tend to move in the same direction during differentiation, they progress at different rates.
So what is next? Christoph tells us about the different avenues that this method can be used to investigate including analyzing DNA methylation during embryonic development or to analyze heterogeneity in tissues and how it can help in the generation of reference methylome.
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