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Anal Biochem. 2005 Mar 1;338(1):1-11.

The use of prokaryotic DNA methyltransferases as experimental and analytical tools in modern biology.

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Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganik Chemistry, Pushchino Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142290 Pushchino, Moscow oblast, Russia.


Prokaryotic DNA methyltransferases (MTases) are used as experimental and research tools in molecular biology and molecular genetics due to their ability to recognize and transfer methyl groups to target bases in specific DNA sequences. As a practical tool, prokaryotic DNA MTases can be used in recombinant DNA technology for in vitro alteration and enhancing of cleavage specificity of restriction endonucleases. The ability of prokaryotic DNA MTases to methylate cytosine residues in specific sequences, which are also methylated in eukaryotic DNA, makes it possible to use them as analytical reagent for determination of the site-specific level of methylation in eukaryotic DNA. In vivo DNA methylation by prokaryotic DNA MTases is used in different techniques for probing chromatin structure and protein-DNA interactions. Additional prospects are opened by development of the methods of DNA methylation targeted to predetermined DNA sequences by fusion of DNA MTases to DNA binding proteins. This review will discuss the application of prokaryotic DNA MTases of Type II in the methods and approaches mentioned above.

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