The Discovery of 5-Formylcytosine in Embryonic Stem Cell DNA


  • We thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for financial support through the SFB program (SFB 749, 646, and TRR54) and by grant CA275 8/4. Further support was obtained from the Excellence Cluster (Center for Integrative Protein Science, CiPSM) and NGFNplus (01GS0870).


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Touching base: Sophisticated mass spectrometry has shown that 5-formylcytosine is a constituent of mammalian embryonic stem cell DNA. This base is likely produced from methylcytosine via hydroxymethylcytosine (see scheme), and it may serve as an intermediate in the long searched for pathway of active DNA demethylation.