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EMBO Rep. 2011 Jul 1;12(7):647-56. doi: 10.1038/embor.2011.110.

Regulation of mammalian DNA methyltransferases: a route to new mechanisms.

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Laboratory of Cancer Epigenetics, Faculty of Medicine, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 808 Route de Lennik, 1070 Brussels, Belgium.


DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) establish and maintain DNA methylation patterns at specific regions of the genome, thereby contributing to gene regulation. It is becoming evident that an intricate web of pathways target DNMTs to these genomic regions. Here, we review the understanding of these regulatory mechanisms and provide an overview of the new findings, emphasizing the emerging scenario in which several levels of regulation are coordinated to control DNMTs. The mechanisms involved include the dynamic interplay between interdependent post-translational modifications that regulate DNMTs, post-transcriptional regulation by miRNAs and the emerging role of non-coding RNA in targeting mammalian DNMTs. The analysis of these mechanisms is imperative to the understanding of the role of DNA methylation in regulating gene expression during development and in disease.

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