DNA Methyltransferases, DNA Damage Repair, and Cancer

  • Bilian Jin
  • Keith D. RobertsonEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (volume 754)


The maintenance DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 and the de novo methyltransferases DNMT3A and DNMT3B are all essential for mammalian development. DNA methylation, catalyzed by the DNMTs, plays an important role in maintaining genome stability. Aberrant expression of DNMTs and disruption of DNA methylation patterns are closely associated with many forms of cancer, although the exact mechanisms underlying this link remain elusive. DNA damage repair systems have evolved to act as a genome-wide surveillance mechanism to maintain chromosome integrity by recognizing and repairing both exogenous and endogenous DNA insults. Impairment of these systems gives rise to mutations and directly contributes to tumorigenesis. Evidence is mounting for a direct link between DNMTs, DNA methylation, and DNA damage repair systems, which provide new insight into the development of cancer. Like tumor suppressor genes, an array of DNA repair genes frequently sustain promoter hypermethylation in a variety of tumors. In addition, DNMT1, but not the DNMT3s, appear to function coordinately with DNA damage repair pathways to protect cells from sustaining mutagenic events, which is very likely through a DNA methylation-independent mechanism. This chapter is focused on reviewing the links between DNA methylation and the DNA damage response.


Proliferate Cell Nuclear Antigen Promoter Methylation Nucleotide Excision Repair Promoter Hypermethylation Fanconi Anemia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Work in the Robertson laboratory is supported by NIH grants R01CA116028, R01CA114229, and the Georgia Cancer Coalition (KDR). KDR is a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyGeorgia Health Sciences University Cancer CenterAugustaUSA

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