ISCB-Asia/SCCG 2012 Keynote Address
Prof. Takashi Ito
Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science,
The University of Tokyo

Exploring the methylome at single-base resolution


DNA methylation plays a key role in epigenetic regulation of eukaryotic genomes. Hence the methylome has been attracting intense attention. In recent years, whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) has enabled methylome analysis at single-base resolution. However, the current WGBS method typically requires microgram quantities of DNA (i.e., one million mammalian cells) as well as global PCR amplification. These features not only preclude its application to samples of limited amounts but also invite the risk of skewed representation that may lead to inaccurate estimation of the methylation level. To overcome these limitations, we developed a highly efficient WGBS method that can determine the methylome from only a few thousand mammalian cells without using any global PCR amplification. The method will enable various novel applications that would not otherwise be possible, thereby substantially expanding the repertoire of single base-resolution methylome maps.


Dr. Ito received his M.D. (1984) and Ph.D. (1990) from Kyushu University, Japan. After his postdoctoral training at UC Berkeley, he joined the Human Genome Center at the University of Tokyo as Assistant Professor in 1992. He was promoted to Professor of the Cancer Research Institute at Kanazawa University in 1999. He then moved to the Department of Computational Biology (2003) and the Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry (2009) at the University of Tokyo. Dr. Ito performed a first comprehensive two-hybrid analysis of the yeast proteome as a pioneer of interactome analysis. He also performed a large-scale full-length cDNA analysis to reveal unexpected complexity of the yeast transcriptome. He has been also interested in epigenomics to develop unique methods for imprinted gene hunting, allelic methylation analysis, one-hybrid screening for methylated DNA-binding proteins, and highly sensitive whole-genome bisulfite sequencing.

Note from the conference organizer

Professor Ito has published many important papers on epigenetics and other biological phenomenon. He is a wet-lab researcher with an outstanding appreciation of the role computation can play in biology, and experience advising graduate students in a multi-disciplinary department. In short, a perfect speaker to foster new collaborations between experimental and computational scientists.