Dnmt2 enzymes are strongly conserved and found in species ranging from Schizosaccharomyces pombe to human, suggesting a very important role for cellular homeostasis. However, most of dnmt2 knock-out organism originally lacked an apparent phenotype such that Dnmt2's biological function remained unknown. Despite their sequence and structural similarity to DNA methyltransferases, it was discovered in 2006 that Dnmt2 is a highly active RNA methyltransferase capable of methylating the C38 position of the tRNA-Asp. The DFG approved funding of the investigation of the properties and biological role of Dnmt2 enzymes at the IBC for the coming 3 years with approx. 380.000 €. The work is conducted in the framework of the DFG research group FOR1082 in cooperation with groups in Heidelberg, Mainz, Kassel, Duisburg/Essen, Halle and Haifa.
A more detailed description of the research project can be found here.