CpG islands: algorithms and applications in methylation studies.

Research paper by Zhongming Z Zhao, Leng L Han

Indexed on: 24 Mar '09Published on: 24 Mar '09Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications


Methylation occurs frequently at 5'-cytosine of the CpG dinucleotides in vertebrate genomes; however, this epigenetic feature is rarely observed in CpG islands (CGIs) or CpG clusters in the promoter regions of genes. Aberrant methylation of the promoter-associated CGIs might influence gene expression and cause carcinogenesis. Because of the functional importance, multiple algorithms have been available for identifying CGIs in a genome or a sequence. They can be categorized into the traditional algorithms (e.g., Gardiner-Garden and Frommer (1987), Takai and Jones (2002), and CpGPRoD (2002)) or statistical property based algorithms (CpGcluster (2006) and CG cluster (2007)). We reviewed the features of these algorithms and evaluated their performance on identifying functional CGIs using genome-wide methylation data. Moreover, identification of CGIs is an initial step in many recent studies for predicting methylation status as well as in the design of methylation detection platforms. We reviewed the benchmarks and features used in these studies.