Bio-Rad Introduces the EpiQ™ Chromatin Analysis Kit

Date: 
02/01/2011

The First Epigenetics Tool that Quantifies Chromatin State for Gene Expression Studies

Hercules, CA – February 1, 2011 – Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.'s new EpiQ chromatin analysis kit is a real-time PCR assay for the rapid quantitative assessment of chromatin structure. Complementing existing epigenetic assays such as DNA methylation and chromatin immunoprecipitation, the EpiQ kit is the first commercial research tool that helps scientists quantify the impact of epigenetic events on gene expression regulation through chromatin state changes.

"The EpiQ kit is a shortcut for understanding if a gene is expressed or not," said Ian Marc Bonapace, a professor in the department of structural and functional biology at the University of Insubria in Varese, Italy. Professor Bonapace studies a protein called UHRF1, which is important in controlling the epigenetic machinery that reinstalls correct modifications on DNA and chromatin during cell proliferation. UHRF1 is a potential marker for cancer aggressiveness. "If I had this kit at the beginning of my research, I would have used it instead of doing expensive and time-consuming ChIP and qPCR experiments," Bonapace added.

"The EpiQ chromatin analysis kit provides researchers with an easy and fast way to quantify a gene's chromatin state," said Viresh Patel, Bio-Rad Marketing Manager for PCR reagents. "Using the kit, cancer, developmental, and stem cell biology researchers are able to glean direct information regarding the chromatin state that's associated with epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation and histone modifications for the first time."

Epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation and histone modification control gene expression by altering chromatin structure. Genes that are actively transcribed are associated with "accessible" chromatin regions called euchromatin, while genes that are transcriptionally silent are often in "inaccessible" chromatin regions called heterochromatin. The EpiQ kit can provide quantitative information about chromatin accessibility, which correlates very strongly with gene expression.

Reduces Analysis Time from Days to Hours
Until now, the only way to quantitatively probe the status of chromatin structure was through the use of homebrew methods, first described in 2001 (Rao, et. al., J. Immunol.). This approach requires the isolation and purification of nuclei from several millions cells prior to chromatin digestion and takes more than two days to complete. With the EpiQ kit, chromatin structure data can be obtained within six hours from as few as 50,000 cultured cells, without the need for nuclei isolation.

Key benefits of the EpiQ chromatin analysis kit include:

  • Assessment of chromatin structure in cultured cells within six hours
  • Requirement of relatively few cells (as few as 50,000) to perform analysis
  • Generation of quantitative chromatin structure information for multiple genomic elements

How It Works
The Chromatin state of a gene can be identified in situ based on its sensitivity to the action of the nuclease in the EpiQ kit. In heterochromatin, genomic DNA is inaccessible to nuclease digestion and remains available for subsequent qPCR. Analysis of heterochromatin using the EpiQ kit reveals a minimal quantification cycle (Cq) shift between digested and undigested samples. In contrast, DNA in euchromatin is susceptible to nuclease digestion and is unavailable for qPCR. Analysis of euchromatin using the EpiQ kit shows a large Cq shift between digested and undigested samples.

What Is Included in the EpiQ Kit
EpiQ kit components include buffers for cell permeabilization and in situ chromatin digestion, optimized nuclease, materials for genomic DNA purification, control assays (qPCR primers) for chromatin assessment of a reference (epigenetically silenced) and control (constitutively expressed) gene, and EpiQ™ Chromatin SYBR® Green Supermix, a real-time PCR reagent designed to amplify genomic DNA. The supermix can be used on all Bio-Rad real-time PCR instruments and on those from other suppliers; some instruments may require slight modifications to the supermix.

For more information about the EpiQ chromatin analysis kit, visit www.bio-rad.com/epiq.

About Bio-Rad
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) has remained at the center of scientific discovery for more than 50 years, manufacturing and distributing a broad range of products for the life science research and clinical diagnostic markets. The company is renowned worldwide among hospitals, universities, and major research institutions, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies for its commitment to quality and customer service. Founded in 1952, Bio-Rad is headquartered in Hercules, California, and serves more than 85,000 research and industry customers worldwide through its global network of operations. The company employs more than 6,800 people globally and had revenues of nearly $1.8 billion in 2009. For more information, please visit http://www.biorad.com.

For more information contact:
Viresh Patel
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.
800-876-3425 ext 3926
Viresh_Patel@bio-rad.com

Ken Li
Chempetitive Group
312-997-2436 ext 109
kli@chempetitive.com