DNA Methylation

Three Decades in Search of Function
  • Aharon Razin
Part of the Medical Intelligence Unit book series (MIUN)


DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark that is involved in control mechanisms of a variety of biological processes. Being symmetrically positioned on the two comple-mentary DNA strands the methyl groups represent a clonally inheritable feature of the DNA. Once established during embryogenesis, methylation patterns are maintained for many cell generations by a maintenance methyltransferase. These methylation patterns are interpreted by proteins that interact with the DNA depending on its state of methylation. Since methylation patterns provide a universal code for DNA-protein interactions, it is not surprising that methylation takes part in many biological processes such as: control of gene expression, DNA replication and cell cycle, DNA repair, imprinting, inactivation of the X-chromosome in eutherian females and much more. In essence, DNA methylation patterns fulfill their task by guiding specific proteins to target sites on the DNA.


Methylation Pattern Imprint Gene Rett Syndrome Angelman Syndrome Demethylase Activity 
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© and Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aharon Razin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cellular Biochemistry and Human GeneticsThe Hebrew University — Hadassah Medical SchoolJerusalemIsrael

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