Is determining the frequencies of cell types crucial for accurate and detailed results of your project? Epiontis offers a wide range of epigenetic assays to quantify your cell type of interest.
Background: What does the epigenome do?
All cell types in the human body contain the exact same DNA. But not all cells have the same function. Epigenetic marks in each cell type activate certain gene sequences and silence others so that nascent cells differentiate into specialized cell types like muscle, liver or bone cells. The marks, which are not part of the primary DNA sequence, can be passed on from cell to cell as they divide. One of these epigenetic marks is the chromatin structure of either actively expressed or silenced genes upon which Epiontis' epigenetic assays are based. Euchromatin is the lightly packed form of chromatin (DNA, RNA and protein). Its open structure allows transcription factors and RNA polymerase complexes to bind to the DNA sequence and initiate the transcription process.
A closed chromatin structure is often accompanied by methylated CpG dinucleotides.
In contrast, open chromatin structures observed close to actively transcribed genes often contain stretches of so called CpG islands that show no methylation. The target regions that Epiontis discovered are marked by the absence of methylation – specific and exclusive to the cell type that is quantified by the epigenetiy assay.
This digital relationship, contrasting complete absence of methylation in the cell type of interest and complete methylation in all other cell types, is the basis of the high accuracy of cell type quantitation allowed by epigenetic assays.