DNA methyltransferases

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 1994 Jun;6(3):380-9. doi: 10.1016/0955-0674(94)90030-2.


Mammals have long been known to tag their DNA by the addition of methyl groups to cytosine residues. Only quite recently, however, has the functional significance of DNA methylation established a firm footing. Evidence now indicates that DNA methylation is essential for development, and is involved in both programmed and ectopic gene inactivation. Recent structural and mechanistic work on bacterial cytosine-5-methyltransferases has provided much insight into the function of the carboxy-terminal catalytic domain of eukaryotic cytosine-5-methyltransferases; evidence is emerging that the amino-terminal domain targets the enzyme to the replication machinery and may be involved in sensing the pre-existing methylation state of the DNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / analysis
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / chemistry
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / physiology*
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • DNA
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases