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Our data suggest that poly ADP-ribosyl ation might be part of this control mechanism. Thus an additional epigenetic modification seems to be involved in maintaining tissue and cell-type methylation patterns that when formed during embryo development, have to be rigorously conserved in adult organisms. Advanced Search. All Journals Journal.

Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Cited by View all 9 citing articles Synthetic zinc finger peptides: old and novel applications.


Article Tools. By searching for mammalian homologs of the trypanosome thymidine hydroxylases, Tahiliani et al.

All three mouse Tet proteins can catalyze a similar reaction, and Tet1 was found to play an important role in ES cell self-renewal and specification of the inner cell mass In mouse ES cells, Tet1 was shown to be required for keeping the Nanog promoter in a hypomethylated state, suggesting a role for Tet1 in regulating DNA methylation It remains unknown whether 5hmC can be an intermediate in active demethylation, but one postulated mechanism Fig. It is noteworthy that glycosylase activity toward 5hmC has been reported in calf thymus extracts The possible mechanisms of active demethylation, as reviewed above, were proposed based mainly on studies using in vitro assays and cultured cells.

It is only recently that attempts have been made to directly investigate the molecular basis of global active demethylation in zygotes and PGCs. Two recent studies have provided several lines of evidence to support a role of BER in active demethylation of the paternal genome in mouse zygotes 86 , Third, a modified nick translation assay detected SSBs only in the paternal DNA at early pronuclear stage 3, in which active demethylation occurs Finally, inhibition of BER resulted in a significantly higher level of DNA methylation in the paternal genome, indicating a critical role of BER in active demethylation in zygotes If so, how is BER triggered during this process?

Recently, it was found that Tet1 is significantly expressed in E Therefore, it will be of great interest to investigate whether 5hmC is present in the paternal genome in zygotes and in PGCs at a time when global demethylation occurs. As mentioned previously, 5hmC has been proposed to be a direct target for BER, although, so far, no 5hmC-specific glycosylases have been identified. However, irrespective of whether BER is involved, it is conceivable that global demethylation is a highly regulated process that involves many factors.

To identify molecular components required for paternal genome demethylation in zygotes, Okada et al. This allowed them to monitor paternal genome demethylation by live-cell imaging. Using this assay together with siRNA knockdown, they screened a dozen candidate genes and found that knockdown of Elp3 , a component of the elongator complex, impaired DNA demethylation in paternal pronuclei.

Knockdown of two other elongator subunits, Elp1 and Elp4 , also impaired demethylation, suggesting that the entire transcription elongator complex may be required for the demethylation process. Although the molecular mechanism for elongator complex-mediated DNA demethylation has yet to be elucidated, Elp3 has a Fe-S radical S -adenosylmethionine SAM domain, suggesting an oxidative mechanism with 5hmC as an intermediate It has become increasingly clear that histone modifications and chromatin-associated factors can have a profound effect on the establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation.

One theme emerging from recent in vitro studies is that DNMT3A methyltransferase can directly interact with specifically modified histone tails.

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A challenge for future research will be to understand at a mechanistic level how de novo DNA methylation occurs within a chromatin context in vivo. On the other hand, research on active DNA demethylation is gaining momentum. Although there is still no consensus on the mechanisms of active demethylation in mammals, emerging evidence suggests that it may involve BER.

As definitive proof for BER involvement requires genetic evidence, it will be critically important in future studies to identify the involved BER factors and use knock-out mice to examine their roles in active demethylation.

DNA methylation

In addition, it is likely that the newly discovered 5hmC base in mammalian DNA will be the subject of intense study in the coming years, and it will be of particular interest to determine whether it plays a role in the DNA demethylation process. This minireview will be reprinted in the Minireview Compendium, which will be available in January, You'll be in good company.

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CpG-rich islands and the function of DNA methylation | Nature

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