Determination of trace amounts of 5-methylcytosine in DNA by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography

Anal Biochem. 1987 Jul;164(1):164-9. doi: 10.1016/0003-2697(87)90381-2.


A high-performance liquid chromatographic method to separate five major bases (cytosine, thymine, guanine, adenine, and uracil) and three minor methylated bases (5-methylcytosine, N6-methyladenine, and 7-methylguanine) has been developed using a volatile mobile phase under isocratic conditions. It is extended to quantitate 5-methylcytosine in trace amounts (1 in 20,000 cytosine residues). The suitability of the method has been verified by estimating 5-methylcytosine in DNAs of phi X174 and pBR322. The method has been applied to quantitate the extent of cytosine methylation in DNA of larval silk glands of Bombyx mori. Our results confirm that the pupal DNA of Drosophila melanogaster does not contain detectable amounts of 5-methylcytosine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Animals
  • Bacteriophage phi X 174 / genetics
  • Bombyx / genetics
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid*
  • Cytosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cytosine / analysis
  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Larva / analysis
  • Microchemistry
  • Pupa / analysis


  • DNA, Viral
  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Cytosine
  • DNA