Methylation patterns in the isochores of vertebrate genomes

Gene. 1997 Dec 31;205(1-2):119-24. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(97)00560-x.


5-Methylcytosine (5mC) levels were determined in compositional DNA fractions corresponding to different isochore families from the genomes of Xenopus, chicken, mouse and human, four vertebrates which show different isochore patterns. The results obtained indicate that: (i) positive correlations exist between the 5mC levels and the GC levels of isochores within any given genome; and (ii) DNA from Xenopus isochore families is twice as methylated as DNA from the isochores having the same GC levels from mouse, human and chicken. Moreover, the positive correlations holding between CpG levels and the GC3 levels of coding sequences of warm-blooded vertebrates were shown to comprise two regions with a border at approx. 75% GC3. The correlation corresponding to the higher region (which comprises only very rare high GC3 values in the case of Xenopus) has a higher slope than that corresponding to the lower GC3 values, a phenomenon due in all likelihood, to the increasing contribution of CpG islands. Finally, the observed/expected CpG ratio is higher in Xenopus than in warm-blooded vertebrates.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CpG Islands / genetics
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Vertebrates / genetics*