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Bisulfite treatment and single-molecule real-time sequencing reveals D-loop length, position and distribution


Displacement loops (D-loops) are signature intermediates formed during homologous recombination. Numerous factors regulate D-loop formation and disruption, thereby influencing crucial aspects of DNA repair, including donor choice and the possibility of crossover outcome. While D-loop detection methods exist, it is currently unfeasible to assess the relationship between D-loop editors and D-loop characteristics such as length and position. Here, we developed a novel in vitro assay to characterize the length and position of individual D-loops with near base-pair resolution and deep coverage, while also revealing their distribution in a population. Non-denaturing bisulfite treatment modifies the cytosines on the displaced strand of the D-loop to uracil, leaving a permanent signature for the displaced strand. Subsequent single-molecule real-time sequencing uncovers the cytosine conversion patch as a D-loop footprint. The D-loop Mapping Assay is widely applicable with different substrates and donor types and can be used to study factors that influence D-loop properties.

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