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A Computational Model of Quantitative Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) Analysis

Keywords: chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis , computer modelling , transcription factors

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Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis is widely used to identify the locations in genomes occupied by transcription factors (TFs). The approach involves chemical cross-linking of DNA with associated proteins, fragmentation of chromatin by sonication or enzymatic digestion, immunoprecipitation of the fragments containing the protein of interest, and then PCR or hybridization analysis to characterize and quantify the genomic sequences enriched. We developed a computational model of quantitative ChIP analysis to elucidate the factors contributing to the method’s resolution. The most important variables identified by the model were, in order of importance, the spacing of the PCR primers, the mean length of the chromatin fragments, and, unexpectedly, the type of fragment width distribution, with very small DNA fragments and smaller amplicons providing the best resolution of TF binding. One of the major predictions of the model was also validated experimentally.


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