A Rat Methyl-Seq Platform to Identify Epigenetic Changes Associated with Stress Exposure

Jenny L. Carey, Olivia H. Cox, Fayaz Seifuddin, Leonard Marque, Kellie L.K. Tamashiro, Peter P. Zandi, Gary S. Wand, Richard S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As genomes of a wider variety of animals become available, there is an increasing need for tools that can capture dynamic epigenetic changes in these animal models. The rat is one particular model animal where an epigenetic tool can complement many pharmacological and behavioral studies to provide insightful mechanistic information. To this end, we adapted the SureSelect Target Capture System (referred to as Methyl-Seq) for the rat, which can assess DNA methylation levels across the rat genome. The rat design targeted promoters, CpG islands, island shores, and GC-rich regions from all RefSeq genes. To implement the platform on a rat experiment, male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to chronic variable stress for 3 weeks, after which blood samples were collected for genomic DNA extraction. Methyl-Seq libraries were constructed from the rat DNA samples by shearing, adapter ligation, target enrichment, bisulfite conversion, and multiplexing. Libraries were sequenced on a next-generation sequencing platform and the sequenced reads were analyzed to identify DMRs between DNA of stressed and unstressed rats. Top candidate DMRs were independently validated by bisulfite pyrosequencing to confirm the robustness of the platform. Results demonstrate that the rat Methyl-Seq platform is a useful epigenetic tool that can capture methylation changes induced by exposure to stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number140
StatePublished - Oct 24 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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