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Subcell Biochem. 2013;61:81-102. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-4525-4_4.

Role of DNA methyltransferases in epigenetic regulation in bacteria.

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Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 560012, India,


In prokaryotes, alteration in gene expression was observed with the modification of DNA, especially DNA methylation. Such changes are inherited from generation to generation with no alterations in the DNA sequence and represent the epigenetic signal in prokaryotes. DNA methyltransferases are enzymes involved in DNA modification and thus in epigenetic regulation of gene expression. DNA methylation not only affects the thermodynamic stability of DNA, but also changes its curvature. Methylation of specific residues on DNA can affect the protein-DNA interactions. DNA methylation in prokaryotes regulates a number of physiological processes in the bacterial cell including transcription, DNA mismatch repair and replication initiation. Significantly, many reports have suggested a role of DNA methylation in regulating the expression of a number of genes in virulence and pathogenesis thus, making DNA methlytransferases novel targets for the designing of therapeutics. Here, we summarize the current knowledge about the influence of DNA methylation on gene regulation in different bacteria, and on bacterial virulence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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