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Cell. 1981 Apr;24(1):33-40.

The somatic replication of DNA methylation.


We have tested the hypothesis that DNA methylation patterns are replicated in the somatic cells of vertebrates. Using M-Hpa II, the modification enzyme from Haemophilus parainfluenzae which methylates the internal cytosine residues in the sequence 5'CCGG 3' GGCC, we methylated bacteriophage phi X174 RF DNA and the cloned chicken thymidine kinase (tk) gene in vitro and then introduced these DNAs and unmethylated controls into tk- cultured mouse cells by DNA-mediated transformation. Twenty-five cell generations later, the state of methylation of transferred DNA was examined by restriction endonuclease analysis and blot hybridization. We conclude that methylation at Hpa II sites is replicated by these cultured cells but not with 100% fidelity. We have also noted that methylation of the cloned chicken tk gene decreases its apparent transformation efficiency relative to unmethylated molecules.

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