Dynamic regulation of DNA methylation during mammalian development

Guibert, S.; Forne, T.; Weber, M.


2009-10 / vol 1 / pages 81-98


DNA methylation occurs on cytosines, is catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), and is present at high levels in all vertebrates. DNA methylation plays essential roles in maintaining genome integrity, but its implication in orchestrating gene-expression patterns remained a matter of debate for a long time. Recent efforts to map DNA methylation at the genome level helped to get a better picture of the distribution of this mark and revealed that DNA methylation is more dynamic between cell types than previously anticipated. In particular, these datasets showed that DNA methylation is targeted to important developmental genes and might act as a barrier to prevent accidental cellular reprogramming. In this review, we will discuss the distribution and function of DNA methylation in mammalian genomes, with particular emphasis on the waves of global DNA methylation reprogramming occurring in early embryos and primordial germ cells.

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1750-192X (Electronic) 1750-192X (Linking)

IGMM team(s) involved in this publication

Animals; DNA/*metabolism; CpG Islands; Genome; *DNA Methylation; Promoter Regions, Genetic; Embryonic Development; Cytosine/metabolism; DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferase/genetics/metabolism; Embryo, Mammalian/cytology/metabolism; Germ Cells/cytology/metabolism

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