Rapid assessment of site specific DNA methylation through resistive pulse sensing

Many diseases are defined by patterns of DNA methylation which result in aberrant gene expression. We present a rapid assay based upon resistive pulse sensing, RPS, to characterize sequence specific DNA methylation sites in genomic DNA. We modify the surface of superparamagnetic beads, SPBs, with DNA (capture probe). The particles are added to solution where they bind to and extract sequence specific DNA (target DNA). The target loaded SPBs are then incubated with antibodies which bind to the methylation sites, and the velocity of the SPBs through the nanopore reveals the number and location of the epigenetic markers within the target. The approach is capable of distinguishing between different methylation sites within a DNA promoter region. Crucially the approach is not dependent on accurate sequencing of assayed DNA, with genomic regions targeted through complementary probes. As such the number of stages and reagents costs are low and the assay is complete in under 60 min which includes the incubation and run times. The format also allows simultaneous quantification of number of copies of methylated DNA, and we illustrate this with a dose response curve.