A mammalian protein with specific demethylase activity for mCpG DNA

Nature. 1999 Feb 18;397(6720):579-83. doi: 10.1038/17533.


DNA-methylation patterns are important for regulating genome functions, and are determined by the enzymatic processes of methylation and demethylation. The demethylating enzyme has now been identified: a mammalian complementary DNA encodes a methyl-CpG-binding domain, bears a demethylase activity that transforms methylated cytosine bases to cytosine, and demethylates a plasmid when the cDNA is translated or transiently transfected into human embryonal kidney cells in vitro. The discovery of this DNA demethylase should provide a basis for the molecular and developmental analysis of the role of DNA methylation and demethylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cytosine / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Dinucleoside Phosphates / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Methanol / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxidoreductases, O-Demethylating / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases, O-Demethylating / isolation & purification*
  • Oxidoreductases, O-Demethylating / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Dinucleoside Phosphates
  • cytidylyl-3'-5'-guanosine
  • Cytosine
  • DNA
  • Oxidoreductases, O-Demethylating
  • methyl-CpG DNA demethylase
  • Methanol

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF072242