Introduction

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Agena Bioscience MassARRAY system

The Centre for Genomic Sciences at The University of Hong Kong is equipped with a Agena Bioscience MassARRAY system with technology based on MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight) mass spectrometry. It allows efficient and  precise molecular  mass determination and has proven to be an attractive option for analyzing diallelic or trialleic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), point mutations and insertion/deletion mutations in amplified DNA fragments. The various applications of the system include SNP genotyping, DNA methylation, molecular typing, quantitative gene expression and somatic mutation profiling.

A range of advance machineries are employed to operate the system, including the MassARRAY Analyzer 4 mass spectrometer, the MassARRAY RS1000 Nanodispenser, a robotic liquid handler and a series of Applied Biosystems 384-well PCR machines.

DNA methylation and related chromatin changes are important processes in the regulation of gene expression. Various types of cancer have demonstrated relevance to these regulatory changes. Changes in the methylation status of DNA have the potential to serve as an early detection marker for malignancies. This ability to detect and to quantify methylation holds the promise of improving the field of cancer diagnostics.

Agena MassARRAY® system uses the speed and accuracy of this innovative method to detect methylation by discriminating between methylated and non-methylated samples and to identify differentially methylated sites through this quantitative analysis.

EpiTYPER analysis provides:

  • Individual methylation ratios for CpG units within a target sequence.
  • A scalable approach for investigating a few or several hundred regions over multiple samples.
  • Long reads up to 600 bp in one reaction, enabling discovery of differential methylation within large promoter regions.
  • Robust analysis from a range of sample types, including formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) samples.
  • An alternative method for validation of methylation array and NGS-based discoveries.