Product News: Agilent Technologies Expands Genome Tiling Portfolio with First Commercial Human CpG Island Microarray for DNA Methylation Research

22 Sep 2006

Agilent Technologies Inc. continues to expand its portfolio of microarrays for emerging applications by introducing the first commercial CpG Island microarrays for studying DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification known to play a significant role in many important cellular processes.

CpG Islands are genomic regions thought to be the targets of DNA methylation. In humans, DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification implicated in several processes such as cancer formation, organism development, genomic imprinting, gene silencing, and chromatin stability. Irregular DNA methylation patterns have been correlated with certain cancers. Epigenetics is the study of heritable modifications that regulate gene expression yet do not affect DNA sequence. The term “CpG” stands for the nucleic acids cytosine and guanine with a phosphodiester bond between them.

Recently, microarrays have evolved as a powerful analysis tool for genome-wide measurement of DNA methylation changes. Agilent is leading the development of this technology by collaborating with leading researchers in the field of DNA methylation to evaluate a microarray design focused on CpG Islands in humans.

“Agilent’s high-quality oligonucleotide microarray manufacturing, custom design capability and integration with our existing assay workflow have enabled us to quickly advance our DNA methylation work,” said Professor Tim Hui-Ming Huang, Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at The Ohio State University. Dr. Huang’s lab uses systems biology approaches to interrogate epigenetic alterations in cancer.

Jean-Pierre Issa, MD, professor of leukemia and director of The Translational Research Laboratories in the Leukemia Department at MD Anderson Cancer Center, uses Agilent oligo tiling microarrays to study the biology and prognostic significance of genome-wide methylation changes in cancer.

Agilent offers a human CpG island microarray and plans to add other organisms in coming months. Researchers can also access Agilent’s database of approximately 13 million ChIP-on-chip probes through eArray v4.5, Agilent’s online design tool that enables researchers to rapidly create custom methylation designs of interest. Investigators can design custom microarrays using several formats, significantly reducing experimental cost. These formats include a single microarray per slide with approximately 244,000 features, two microarrays per slide each with more than 105,000 features, and four microarrays per slide each with more than 44,000 features.

“For some time now, Agilent has been working closely with academic researchers to develop and optimize microarray-based methods for measuring DNA methylation. The 244k CpG island microarray enables these researchers to study the genomic regions most likely targeted for DNA methylation,” said Chris Hopkins, senior scientist, Agilent Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis.