Detecting DNA Methylation Using Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

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Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society. Among all of the epigenetic events that are responsible for various diseases such as cancer, lupus, and several birth defects, DNA methylation is one of the crucial ones. It occurs because of the alkylation of various bases. These modifications of genes carried through altered creations of proteins ultimately lead to various diseases. For example, a vital cause behind canine lymphoma is found to be DNA methylation in the guanine base. In this work, we analyzed the methylated and nonmethylated guanine structure with the assistance of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and density functional theory (DFT). Because of their vulnerability for causing DNA methylation, the N7 and O6 positions of the guanine structure were the positions of interest with the addition of various adducts such as methyl, hydroxyethyl, and deuterated methyl groups. To distinguish the methylated samples from the nonmethylated ones, principal component analysis was performed, and the same analysis was used to distinguish their methylated positions and added adducts. The experimental results were then explained by structure optimization and frequency calculation of the molecules based on DFT calculations. To understand the charge distribution and detect the possible locations of alkylation of DNA bases, electrostatic potential, highest occupied molecular orbital, and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital for each of the molecules were analyzed, and the reactivity was discussed in the light of electronic structure calculations. The results presented in this study demonstrate a potential label-free technique to examine epigenetic modification of DNA.

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Journal of Physical Chemistry C

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