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Epigenetic Antibodies

Biointron 2024-01-24 Read time: 3 mins
Visualization of epigenetic modifications in a single cell. Immunofluorescence staining (A-D) and iChmo (E-H) was performed using mouse ESCs and antibodies. Image credit: DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkt528 

Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that do not involve alterations to the DNA sequence. These changes can be influenced by various factors, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs (especially microRNAs). These epigenetic marks encompass the epigenome, which is natural and critical to many organism functions, although significant negative effects can happen if epigenetic processes occur improperly.1,2

Histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) include acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation, and ubiquitylation on histone tails. Histone proteins are important in packaging DNA, so their PTMs can greatly affect the activation or repression of gene transcription. Since histone residues can have none or several different modifications, identifying them can be challenging.3

Epigenetic antibodies can be used in chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments to detect and characterize epigenetic targets. They can be either polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies and can be produced with high specificity to a particular PTM and ensure consistent antibody lot-to-lot variability. This is valuable as identifying the correct genomic position and quantity of histone PTMs will allow the study of their downstream functions.4

Besides histone modifications, DNA methylation is a well-studied epigenetic process, characterized by the addition of a methyl or hydroxymethyl group to the C5 position of the cytosine. DNA methylation plays a role in regulating gene expression and several biological activities including aging and disease.5 Antibodies targeting this can be used in techniques such as dot blot, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP), immunofluorescence (IF), and immunohistochemistry (IHC). 

Non-coding RNAs are a cluster of RNAs that do not encode functional proteins, but ongoing research supports them as being important in epigenetic control, regulating gene expression. Non-coding RNAs include small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), microRNAs (miRNAs), PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). These RNAs appear to interact in a regulatory network, but analysis their relationships remain a challenge.6 To analyze RNA-protein interactions, researchers can use techniques involving antibodies such as RNA Immunoprecipitation (RIP) and UV Cross-Linking and Immunoprecipitation (CLIP).

At Biointron, we are dedicated to accelerating your antibody discovery, optimization, and production needs. Our team of experts can provide customized solutions that meet your specific research needs. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help accelerate your research and drug development projects.  


  1. Weinhold, B. (2006). Epigenetics: The Science of Change. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(3), A160.

  2. Li, G., Zan, H., Xu, Z., & Casali, P. (2013). Epigenetics of the antibody response. Trends in Immunology, 34(9), 460.

  3. Mariño-Ramírez, L., Kann, M. G., Shoemaker, B. A., & Landsman, D. (2005). Histone structure and nucleosome stability. Expert Review of Proteomics, 2(5), 719.

  4. Nishikori, S., Hattori, T., Fuchs, S. M., Yasui, N., Wojcik, J., Koide, A., Strahl, B. D., & Koide, S. (2012). Broad Ranges of Affinity and Specificity of Anti-Histone Antibodies Revealed by a Quantitative Peptide Immunoprecipitation Assay. Journal of Molecular Biology, 424(5), 391-399.

  5. Moore, L. D., Le, T., & Fan, G. (2013). DNA Methylation and Its Basic Function. Neuropsychopharmacology, 38(1), 23-38.

  6. Wei, J., Huang, K., Yang, C., & Kang, C. (2017). Non-coding RNAs as regulators in epigenetics (Review). Oncology Reports, 37, 3-9.

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