Regulation of DNA methylation of Rasgrf1

Bong June Yoon, Herry Herman, Aimee Sikora, Laura T. Smith, Christoph Plass, Paul D. Soloway

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139 Citations (Scopus)


In mammals, DNA is methylated at cytosines within CpG dinucleotides. Properly regulated methylation is crucial for normal development. Inappropriate methylation may contribute to tumorigenesis by silencing tumor-suppressor genes or by activating growth-stimulating genes. Although many genes have been identified that acquire methylation and whose expression is methylation-sensitive, little is known about how DNA methylation is controlled. We have identified a DNA sequence that regulates establishment of DNA methylation in the male germ line at Rasgrf1. In mice, the imprinted Rasgrf1 locus is methylated on the paternal allele within a differentially methylated domain (DMD) 30 kbp 5′ of the promoter. Expression is exclusively from the paternal allele in neonatal brain. Methylation is regulated by a repeated sequence, consisting of a 41-mer repeated 40 times, found immediately 3′ of the DMD. This sequence is present in organisms in which Rasgrf1 is imprinted. In addition, DMD methylation is required for imprinted Rasgrf1 expression. Together the DMD and repeat element constitute a binary switch that regulates imprinting at the locus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jan
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was made possible through grants from the NIH and the Roswell Park Alliance to P.D.S., C.P. and to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The authors dedicate this work to the memory of V. Chapman.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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