CpG-rich islands and the function of DNA methylation

Nature. 1986 May;321(6067):209-13. doi: 10.1038/321209a0.


It is likely that most vertebrate genes are associated with 'HTF islands'--DNA sequences in which CpG is abundant and non-methylated. Highly tissue-specific genes, though, usually lack islands. The contrast between islands and the remainder of the genome may identify sequences that are to be constantly available in the nucleus. DNA methylation appears to be involved in this function, rather than with activation of tissue specific genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azacitidine / pharmacology
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Globins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA, Viral
  • Globins
  • DNA
  • Azacitidine