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Cell. 2014 Jan 16;156(1-2):45-68. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.12.019.

Reversing DNA methylation: mechanisms, genomics, and biological functions.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
2
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard Medical School, WAB-149G, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: yzhang@genetics.med.harvard.edu.

Abstract

Methylation of cytosines in the mammalian genome represents a key epigenetic modification and is dynamically regulated during development. Compelling evidence now suggests that dynamic regulation of DNA methylation is mainly achieved through a cyclic enzymatic cascade comprised of cytosine methylation, iterative oxidation of methyl group by TET dioxygenases, and restoration of unmodified cytosines by either replication-dependent dilution or DNA glycosylase-initiated base excision repair. In this review, we discuss the mechanism and function of DNA demethylation in mammalian genomes, focusing particularly on how developmental modulation of the cytosine-modifying pathway is coupled to active reversal of DNA methylation in diverse biological processes.

PMID:
24439369
PMCID:
PMC3938284
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2013.12.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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