Masc2, a gene from Ascobolus encoding a protein with a DNA-methyltransferase activity in vitro, is dispensable for in vivo methylation

Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jan;31(1):331-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.1999.01177.x.


We have shown previously that masc1, a gene encoding a putative C5-DNA-methyltransferase (MTase), was necessary for the de novo 'Methylation Induced Premeiotically' (MIP) process and sexual reproduction in Ascobolus, whereas it was dispensable for maintenance methylation. A second MTase gene from Ascobolus, masc2, encodes a protein, Masc2, which possesses the large amino-terminal part characteristic of eukaryotic maintenance MTases. In vitro assays have shown that Masc2 displays a methylation activity, suggesting that it might be the MTase responsible for maintenance methylation. To check its function in vivo, we engineered a disruption of the masc2 gene. The resulting mutant strains did not exhibit any particular phenotype during either vegetative growth or sexual reproduction. Neither the masc2 mutation nor the double masc1 masc2 mutation had any detectable effect upon the maintenance of the pre-existing methylation of single gene copies previously subjected to MIP, natural retroelement-like repeats and tandemly repeated rDNA. The masc2 mutation did not alter either MIP or the other de novo methylation process that operates in vegetatives cells. Nor did it impair the meiotic process of methylation transfer. These results suggest that at least a third MTase gene responsible for maintenance and vegetative de novo methylation is present in Ascobolus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ascomycota / drug effects
  • Ascomycota / enzymology*
  • Ascomycota / genetics
  • Azacitidine / pharmacology
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / genetics
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fungal Proteins*
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Meiosis
  • Mutagenesis
  • Phenotype


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Masc2 protein, Ascobolus immersus
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • Azacitidine