DNA Methylation and the Mammalian Genome
Martina Paulsen and Sascha Tierling und Jörn Walter
from: Epigenetics (Edited by: Jörg Tost). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2008)
In mammals, cytosine methylation at CpG positions of the DNA sequence is one of the hallmarks of epigenetic gene silencing. During evolution, CpG rich regions, so-called CpG islands, have been established as prominent features of promoter regions of genes. Whereas most regions of the genome are constantly methylated these elements are mainly kept free of methylation thereby facilitating the establishment of an open chromatin structure and of initiation of transcription. Besides its role in the regulation of genes, DNA methylation silences repetitive elements and appears to be important for the stability of the mammalian genome. Thus, DNA methylation influences the functional integrity of mammalian genome by shaping its overall structure and leaving its marks in the genomic DNA sequence during evolution read more ...