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Role of Mammalian DNA Methyltransferases in Development

Authors
  • Chen, Zhiyuan
  • Zhang, Yi
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Biochemistry
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jun 20, 2020
Volume
89
Pages
135–158
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-103019-102815
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

DNA methylation at the 5-position of cytosine (5mC) plays vital roles in mammalian development. DNA methylation is catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), and the two DNMT families, DNMT3 and DNMT1, are responsible for methylation establishment and maintenance, respectively. Since their discovery, biochemical and structural studies have revealed the key mechanisms underlying how DNMTs catalyze de novo and maintenance DNA methylation. In particular, recent development of low-input genomic and epigenomic technologies has deepened our understanding of DNA methylation regulation in germ lines and early stage embryos. In this review, we first describe the methylation machinery including the DNMTs and their essential cofactors. We then discuss how DNMTs are recruited to or excluded from certain genomic elements. Lastly, we summarize recent understanding of the regulation of DNA methylation dynamics in mammalian germ lines and early embryos with a focus on both mice and humans.

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