Determination of 5-methylcytosine from plant DNA by high-performance liquid chromatography

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1981 Jun 26;654(1):52-6. doi: 10.1016/0005-2787(81)90135-0.


The relative amounts of the five nucleosides (deoxycytidine, 5-methyldeoxycytidine, deoxyadenosine, deoxyguanosine and thymidine) in the DNA of nine plant species, one plant satellite DNA, and one animal species were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. The method allows the clean separation of the nucleosides from 10 microgram samples with 15 min. The following values for the proportion of methylated cytosines among all cytosines were obtained: Lobularia maritima 18.5%, Nicotiana tabacum 32.6%, Pisum sativum 23.2%, Rhinanthus minor 29.2%, Sinapsis alba 12.2%, Vicia faba 30.5%, Viscum album 23.2%, Cymbidium pumilum 18.8%, Cymbidium pumilum AT-rich satellite DNA 15.8%, Triticum aestivum 22.4%. DNA of an animal, the gerbil, Meriones unguiculatus, had a methylation percentage of 3.1%. An estimate of the GC content based on the buoyant density of DNA tends to be lower than the actual value, an estimate based on the melting temperature tends to be higher. This supports the finding by other authors that DNA methylation decreases the buoyant density and may increase the melting temperature at high m5C concentration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Cytosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cytosine / analysis
  • DNA* / isolation & purification
  • Hydrolysis
  • Plants / analysis*
  • Species Specificity


  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Cytosine
  • DNA