Optical biosensing strategies for DNA methylation analysis
DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification of DNA, where a methyl group is added at the fifth carbon of the cytosine base to form 5 methyl cytosine (5mC) without altering the DNA sequences. It plays important roles in regulating many cellular processes by modulating key genes expression. Alteration in DNA methylation patterns becomes particularly important in the aetiology of different diseases including cancers. Abnormal methylation pattern could contribute to the pathogenesis of cancer either by silencing key tumor suppressor genes or by activating oncogenes. Thus, DNA methylation biosensing can help in the better understanding of cancer prognosis and diagnosis and aid the development of therapies. Over the last few decades, a plethora of optical detection techniques have been developed for analyzing DNA methylation using fluorescence, Raman spectroscopy, surface plasmon resonance (SPR), electrochemiluminescence and colorimetric readouts. This paper aims to comprehensively review the optical strategies for DNA methylation detection. We also present an overview of the remaining challenges of optical strategies that still need to be focused along with the lesson learnt while working with these techniques.