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J Biol Chem. 2001 May 25;276(21):18605-13. Epub 2001 Mar 16.

Recombinant human DNA (cytosine-5) methyltransferase. III. Allosteric control, reaction order, and influence of plasmid topology and triplet repeat length on methylation of the fragile X CGG.CCG sequence.

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Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Center for Genome Research, Texas A & M University System Health Science Center, Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas 77030-3303, USA.


Steady-state kinetic analyses revealed that the methylation reaction of the human DNA (cytosine-5) methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) is repressed by the N-terminal domain comprising the first 501 amino acids, and that repression is relieved when methylated DNA binds to this region. DNMT1 lacking the first 501 amino acids retains its preference for hemimethylated DNA. The methylation reaction proceeds by a sequential mechanism, and either substrate (S-adenosyl-l-methionine and unmethylated DNA) may be the first to bind to the active site. However, initial binding of S-adenosyl-l-methionine is preferred. The binding affinities of DNA for both the regulatory and the catalytic sites increase in the presence of methylated CpG dinucleotides and vary considerably (more than one hundred times) according to DNA sequence. DNA topology strongly influences the reaction rates, which increased with increasing negative superhelical tension. These kinetic data are consistent with the role of DNMT1 in maintaining the methylation patterns throughout development and suggest that the enzyme may be involved in the etiology of fragile X, a syndrome characterized by de novo methylation of a greatly expanded CGG.CCG triplet repeat sequence.

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