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NOMePlot: analysis of DNA methylation and nucleosome occupancy at the single molecule.

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Recent technical advances highlight that to understand mammalian development and human disease we need to consider transcriptional and epigenetic cell-to-cell differences within cell populations. This is particularly important in key areas of biomedicine like stem cell differentiation and intratumor heterogeneity. The recently developed nucleosome occupancy and methylome (NOMe) assay facilitates the simultaneous study of DNA methylation and nucleosome positioning on the same DNA strand. NOMe-treated DNA can be sequenced by sanger (NOMe-PCR) or high throughput approaches (NOMe-seq). NOMe-PCR provides information for a single locus at the single molecule while NOMe-seq delivers genome-wide data that is usually interrogated to obtain population-averaged measures. Here, we have developed a bioinformatic tool that allow us to easily obtain locus-specific information at the single molecule using genome-wide NOMe-seq datasets obtained from bulk populations. We have used NOMePlot to study mouse embryonic stem cells and found that polycomb-repressed bivalent gene promoters coexist in two different epigenetic states, as defined by the nucleosome binding pattern detected around their transcriptional start site.
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