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Credit: Osaka University

Osaka – In cancer, one of the most important features is the methylation of deoxycytosine to form 5-methylcytosine (5mC). DNA methylation is a process by which methyl groups (structural units of organic compounds consisting of three hydrogen atoms bonded to a carbon atom) are added to the DNA molecule.

The occurrence and distribution pattern of 5mC have been shown to be crucial for gene regulation and can serve as important biomarkers for diagnostics. Therefore, investigating the relationship between DNA methylation and transcription (the first step of gene expression) is important for the interpretation of cellular responses and development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Extensive DNA methylation and transcription analyses have provided large quantities of data; however, it is difficult to identify critical genes related to cancer development from these data. To that end, a team of Osaka University researchers transformed the large volume of data into a smooth function using Gaussian functions to extract appropriate information from the data – information that serves as a representative value of 5mC methylation.

“Tumors contain a subpopulation of cells, called cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are self-renewing

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