Profiling the methylome following DNA damage

M Ambrose1, E Joo2, S Jeffreys1 and K Brettingham-Moore1

  1. School of Medicine, University of Tasmania
  2. Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne

While DNA repair pathways and mechanisms are relatively well understood the role of the epigenetic landscape in this process has yet to be elucidated. It is conceivable that a more loosely packed chromatin environment is more susceptible to DNA damage while in contrast heterochromatin provides a protective environment. However the flip side of this is that euchromatin provides ease of access to DNA repair proteins while heterochromatin hinders access. In attempt to tease out the role of the epigenome in DNA repair we have profiled basal and post radiation global DNA methylation using the Illumina Infinium 450K arrays. This platform demonstrated that cells surviving this treatment have surprisingly stable methylomes with very few changes post exposure. Basal methylation profiles were characteristic of each cell line which may be indicative of their sensitivity to DNA damage or ability to repair DNA. This work provides the basis for further molecular characterisation of DNA repair within a chromatin context.