Dynamics of DNA methylation during development

  • Brandeis M
  • Ariel M
  • Cedar H
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Abstract

DNA methylation plays a role in the repression of gene expression in animal cells. In the mouse preimplantation embryo, most genes are unmethylated but a wave of de novo methylation prior to gastrulation generates a bimodal pattern characterized by unmethylated CpG island- containing housekeeping genes and fully modified tissue-specific genes. Demethylation of individual genes then takes place during cell type specific differentiation, and this demodification may be a required step in the process of transcriptional activation. DNA modification is also involved in the maintenance of gene repression on the inactive X chromosome in female somatic cells and the marking of parental alleles at genomically imprinted gene loci.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Animal; Base Sequence; Blastocyst/physiology; DNA/

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Authors

  • M Brandeis

  • M Ariel

  • H Cedar

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