Z-dna as a tool for nuclease-free dna methyltransferase assay

Sook Ho Kim, Hae Jun Jung, Seok Cheol Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Methylcytosines in mammalian genomes are the main epigenetic molecular codes that switch off the repertoire of genes in cell-type and cell-stage dependent manners. DNA methyltrans-ferases (DMT) are dedicated to managing the status of cytosine methylation. DNA methylation is not only critical in normal development, but it is also implicated in cancers, degeneration, and senescence. Thus, the chemicals to control DMT have been suggested as anticancer drugs by reprogramming the gene expression profile in malignant cells. Here, we report a new optical technique to characterize the activity of DMT and the effect of inhibitors, utilizing the methylation-sensitive B-Z transition of DNA without bisulfite conversion, methylation-sensing proteins, and polymerase chain reaction amplification. With the high sensitivity of single-molecule FRET, this method detects the event of DNA methylation in a single DNA molecule and circumvents the need for amplification steps, permitting direct interpretation. This method also responds to hemi-methylated DNA. Dispensing with methylation-sensitive nucleases, this method preserves the molecular integrity and methylation state of target molecules. Sparing methylation-sensing nucleases and antibodies helps to avoid errors introduced by the antibody’s incomplete specificity or variable activity of nucleases. With this new method, we demonstrated the inhibitory effect of several natural bio-active compounds on DMT. All taken together, our method offers quantitative assays for DMT and DMT-related anticancer drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11990
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 1


  • DNA methylation
  • Methylcytosine sensi-tive
  • Natural DNA methyltransferase inhibitors
  • Nuclease-free
  • Single-molecule FRET
  • Z-DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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