Together with Fluidigm, a US-based company focusing on microfluidics, the team of Hendrik Marks publishes in Genome Research the development of a powerful plug and play ChIP-seq platform for minute amount of cells, such as embryonic specimens or small biopsies.
Epigenetic profiling by chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) has become a powerful tool for genome-wide identification of regulatory elements, for defining transcriptional regulatory networks, and for screening for biomarkers. However, the ChIP-seq protocol for low-input samples is laborious and time-consuming and suffers from experimental variation, resulting in poor reproducibility and low throughput.
To enable standardized, automated ChIP-seq profiling of low-input samples, we constructed microfluidic PDMS-based plates capable of performing 24 sensitive ChIP reactions within 30 min of hands-on time and 4.5 h of machine-running time. These disposable plates can be conveniently loaded into a widely available controller for pneumatics and thermocycling. In light of the plug and play (PnP) ChIP plates and workflow, we named our procedure PnP-ChIP-seq. PnP-ChIP-seq allows nonexpert laboratories worldwide to conveniently run robust, standardized ChIP-seq, whereas its high throughput, consistency, and sensitivity pave the way toward large-scale profiling of precious sample types such as rare subpopulations of cells or biopsies.
Hendrik Marks and his team are RIMLS researchers who work at the Faculty of Science.