Uses of ChIP-seq
ChIP-seq is used primarily to determine how transcription factors and other chromatin-associated proteins influence phenotype-affecting mechanisms. Determining how proteins interact with DNA to regulate gene expression is essential for fully understanding many biological processes and disease states. This epigenetic information is complementary to genotype and expression analysis. ChIP-seq technology is currently seen primarily as an alternative to ChIP-chip which requires a hybridization array. This necessarily introduces some bias, as an array is restricted to a fixed number of probes. Sequencing, by contrast, is thought to have less bias, although the sequencing bias of different sequencing technologies is not yet fully understood.
Specific DNA sites in direct physical interaction with transcription factors and other proteins can be isolated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. ChIP produces a library of target DNA sites bound to a protein of interest in vivo. Massively parallel sequence analyses are used in conjunction with whole-genome sequence databases to analyze the interaction pattern of any protein with DNA, or the pattern of any epigenetic chromatin modifications. This can be applied to the set of ChIP-able proteins and modifications, such as transcription factors, polymerases and transcriptional machinery, structural proteins, protein modifications, and DNA modifications. As an alternative to the dependence on specific antibodies, different methods have been developed to find the superset of all nucleosome-depleted or nucleosome-disrupted active regulatory regions in the genome, like DNase-Seq and FAIRE-Seq.
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