An Engineered Split-TET2 Enzyme for Chemical-inducible DNA Hydroxymethylation and Epigenetic Remodeling.
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DNA methylation is a stable and heritable epigenetic modification in the mammalian genome and is involved in regulating gene expression to control cellular functions. The reversal of DNA methylation, or DNA demethylation, is mediated by the ten-eleven translocation (TET) protein family of dioxygenases. Although it has been widely reported that aberrant DNA methylation and demethylation are associated with developmental defects and cancer, how these epigenetic changes directly contribute to the subsequent alteration in gene expression or disease progression remains unclear, largely owing to the lack of reliable tools to accurately add or remove DNA modifications in the genome at defined temporal and spatial resolution. To overcome this hurdle, we designed a split-TET2 enzyme to enable temporal control of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) oxidation and subsequent remodeling of epigenetic states in mammalian cells by simply adding chemicals. Here, we describe methods for introducing a chemical-inducible epigenome remodeling tool (CiDER), based on an engineered split-TET2 enzyme, into mammalian cells and quantifying the chemical inducible production of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) with immunostaining, flow cytometry or a dot-blot assay. This chemical-inducible epigenome remodeling tool will find broad use in interrogating cellular systems without altering the genetic code, as well as in probing the epigenotype-phenotype relations in various biological systems.