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Genes Cancer. 2011 Jun;2(6):618-30. doi: 10.1177/1947601911418499.

The Roles of the Methyl-CpG Binding Proteins in Cancer.

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  • 1School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.


The methyl-CpG binding proteins (MBPs) interpret the methylation of DNA and its components. The number of MBPs in the human body currently stands at 15, which are split into 3 branches, a reflection of the intricate mechanisms of gene regulation. Each branch utilizes a different mechanism for interacting with methylated DNA or its components. These interactions function to direct gene expression and maintain or alter DNA architecture. It is these functions that are commonly exploited in human disease. For this review, we will focus on each protein and any roles it may have in initiating, promoting, progressing, or inhibiting cancer. This will highlight common threads in the roles of these proteins, which will allow us to speculate on potentially productive directions for future research.


cancer; methyl binding domain (MBD); methyl binding protein (MBP); methylation; repression; transcription

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