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Biol Chem. 1998 Apr-May;379(4-5):401-7.

DNA demethylation: turning genes on.

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The Hubert H. Humphrey Center for Experimental Medicine and Cancer Research, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.


The regulation of eukaryotic gene expression is a complicated process involving the interaction of a large number of transacting factors with specific cis-regulatory elements. DNA methylation plays a role in this scheme by acting in cis to modulate protein-DNA interactions. Several lines of evidence indicate that methylation serves to silence transcription, mainly through indirect mechanisms involving the assembly of repressive nucleoprotein complexes. DNA demethylation is mostly an active enzymatic process, controlled by cis regulatory elements which provide binding sites for trans demethylation factors. In the immune system DNA methylation plays multiple roles, such as regulating both gene expression and gene rearrangement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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