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DNA methylation in epigenetics, development, and imprinting

Part 1. Genetics

1.3. Epigenetics

Short Specialist Review

  1. Hiroyuki Sasaki

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g103304

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Sasaki, H. 2005. DNA methylation in epigenetics, development, and imprinting. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 1:1.3:32.

Author Information

  1. National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

Abstract

DNA methylation is a key epigenetic mechanism that controls developmental gene expression, transposon silencing, and genome integrity. In vertebrates, methylation occurs at the cytosine of CpG dinucleotides, and this provides the basis for heritability of methylation patterns through replication. The DNA methyltransferases and methyl-CpG-binding proteins cooperate with chromatin modification enzymes to silence genes. Although some organisms such as yeast and nematode live happily without methylation, mammals are heavily dependent on it: loss of methylation in mice causes early embryonic death. Genomic imprinting, an epigenetic phenomenon crucial for normal mammalian development, is also controlled by methylation.

Keywords:

  • DNA methylation;
  • DNA methyltransferase (DNMT);
  • epigenetics;
  • genomic imprinting;
  • development;
  • CpG islands;
  • MBD proteins