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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 May-Jun;1769(5-6):287-94. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD) proteins in plants.

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Albert Katz Department of Dryland Biotechnologies, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben-Gurion 84990, Israel.


Cytosine methylation is the most prevalent epigenetic modification of plant nuclear DNA, which occurs in symmetrical CpG or CpNpG as well as in non-symmetrical contexts. Intensive studies demonstrated the central role played by cytosine methylation in genome organization, gene expression and in plant growth and development. However, the way by which the methyl group is interpreted into a functional state has only recently begun to be explored with the isolation and characterization of methylated DNA binding proteins capable of binding 5-methylcytosine. These proteins belong to an evolutionary conserved protein family initially described in animals termed methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD) proteins. Here, we highlight recent advances and present new prospects concerning plant MBD proteins and their possible role in controlling chromatin structure mediated by CpG methylation.

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