Structures of DNA methyltransferases

New publication in "Biochemical Society Transactions"

August 29, 2018 /

Structure and mechanism of DNA methyltransferases

New publication in "Biochemical Society Transactions"

As part of the epigenetic network, DNA methylation is a major regulator of chromatin structure and function. In mammals, it mainly occurs at palindromic CpG sites, but asymmetric methylation at non-CpG sites is observed as well. Three enzymes are involved in the generation and maintenance of DNA methylation patterns. DNMT1, which has high preference for hemimethylated CpG sites, and DNMT3A and DNMT3B, which equally methylate unmethylated and hemimethylated DNA, and also introduce non-CpG methylation. In this new review article in Biochemical Society Transactions, Prof. H. Gowher from Purdue University (West Lafayette, USA) and Prof. Jeltsch summarize and comment recent observations and novel insights into the structure and function of mammalian DNMTs, including new structures of DNMT1 and DNMT3A, data on their mechanism, regulation by post-translational modifications, allosteric regulation, targeting of DNMTs by chromatin modifications and chromatin proteins and on the function of DNMTs in cells. The new data provide a deeper understanding of key mechanistic properties of DNA methyltransferases. They impressively illustrate the intensity of ongoing research in this field, but also document still unsolved issues, which need to be addressed in future studies.


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