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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1975 Jul 7;395(3):229-38.

Content and localisation of 5-methylcytosine in DNA of healthy and wilt-infected cotton plants.


5-Methylcytosine has been found in all pyrimidine isopliths isolated from the DNA of cotton plants, but it localizes predominantly in tri- (about 52%) and dipyrimidine (about 22%) clusters. The 5-methylcytosine distribution by pyrimidine isopliths in DNA of cotton plants is specific and quite different from that in other plant and animal DNA studied. The total 5-methylcytosine content in DNA from wilt-infected cotton plants (2.3 mol %) is less than half that found in DNA from non-infected cotton plants (4.9 mol %). No other visible differences (G+C content, Tm, deltaT, s20,w, frequencies of pyrimidine clusters and others) in these DNA have been found. This suggests that in wilt-infected plants, no essential alteration in DNA sequence or molecular population takes place. As a result of wilt infection 5-methylcytosine completely disappears from dipyrimidine oligonucleotides of cotton plant DNA; its content decreases markedly in long pyrimidine clusters (heptaoligonucleotides and longer) and in C3, C2 T, CT2 fragments. Thus, DNA in wilt-infected plant cells is specifically undermethylated (demethylated). The induced alteration in DNA methylation may be considered one of the possible mechanisms for the specific distortion of gene activity of host cells and primary fungal pathogenic action on plants.

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