Evidence that Cytosine Residues within 5'-CCTGG-3' Pentanucleotides Can Be Methylated in Human DNA Independently of the Methylating System that Modifies 5'-CG-3' Dinucleotides

Franchina, Maria; Kay, Peter H.
September 2000
DNA & Cell Biology;Sep2000, Vol. 19 Issue 9, p521
Academic Journal
In contrast to the complex sequence specificities of the prokaryotic DNA methylating systems, the mammalian machinery identified thus far methylates cytosine residues within the context of a 5'-CG-3' dinucleotide. To explore the possibility that cytosine residues that do not precede guanine may be independently methylated in mammalian DNA, we have examined a region of the human myogenic gene, Myf-3, which is not targeted by the methylating system that methylates 5'-CG-3' dinucleotides. Our investigations have revealed cytosine methylation within the 5'-CCTGG-3' pentanucleotides specified by the 0.8-kb Myf-3 probe. We have also found that in DNA from neoplastic cells, in which 5'-CG-3' dinucleotides within Myf-3 become abnormally hypermethylated, cytosine residues within 5'-CCTGG-3' pentanucleotides are not methylated. Moreover, methylation of 5'-CCTGG-3' pentanucleotides was not detected within the closely related Myf-4 gene, which is normally 5'-CG-3' hypermethylated. These findings indicate the existence of a system that methylates 5'-CCTGG-3' pentanucleotides independently of the system that methylates cytosine residues within 5'-CG-3' dinucleotides. It is possible that the 5'-CCTGG-3' methylating system influences the fate of foreign integrated DNA.


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