A protein from human placental nuclei binds preferentially to 5-methylcytosine-rich DNA

Lan Hsiang Huang, Richard Wang, Miguel A. Gama-Sosa, Suresh Shenoy, Melanie Ehrlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The methylation of vertebrate DNA at the 5-position of ∼3-10% of its cytosine residues occurs in a sequence-specific and tissue-specific manner 1-3 and has been implicated in the control of transcription 1,4-7. How these differences are established and how they mediate the initiation or maintenance of transcription are unknown. DNA methylation might also have other roles, such as modulating DNA replication, transposition, DNA repair or chromosome configuration1,8,9. These other roles suggested for DNA methylation would be consistent with the finding that tissue-specific differences in methylation of certain gene regions5, highly repeated satellite DNA sequences8-10 and whole genomes2,3 often do not correlate with transcriptional activity. For DNA methylation to modulate the expression, maintenance or duplication of chromosomes, there should be effector macromolecules, presumably proteins, which specifically recognize 5-methylcytosine (m5C) residues in DNA. We describe here the first identification of a mammalian protein that binds preferentially to m 5C-rich DNA sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-295
Number of pages3
Issue number5956
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


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