Methylated DNA‐binding Proteins


The information encoded by deoxyribonucleic acid methylation is interpreted by a family of proteins that share the methylated CpG‐binding domain. These proteins are associated with histone deacetylase and mediate gene silencing through the modification of chromatin.

Keywords: DNA methylation; gene repression; histone deacetylase; methylated CpG‐binding domain; methyl CpG binding protein 2

Figure 1.

Diagram of the MBD–DNA complex. Coordinates for the MBD1 MBD–methylated DNA complex are available at the Structure Database of the NCBI (see Web Links) with the accession number 1IG4. The figure was drawn with the coordinates and the WebLab ViewerPro 3.2 software. The secondary structure of the MBD is shown (β‐sheet strands and the α‐helix).

Figure 2.

Model showing events that take place in hypermethylated promoters and the factors involved in the establishment of a transcriptionally silenced state. An array of nucleosomes is shown. Acetylated histone tails are protruding lines from octamers, whereas deacetylated histone tails are not shown. Factors involved in DNA‐methylation‐driven repression: the upper half includes CGBP and specific transcription factors that bind exclusively unmethylated DNA and HATs that activate gene expression. The lower half includes HDAC‐associated DNMTs and MBD‐containing repressor complexes that associate to methylated DNA.



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Further Reading

Ballestar E and Wolffe AP (2001) Methyl‐CpG‐binding proteins: targeting specific gene repression. European Journal of Biochemistry 268: 1–6.

Bird A (2002) DNA methylation patterns and epigenetic memory. Genes and Development 16: 6–21.

Bird AP and Wolffe AP (1999) Methylation‐induced repression – belts, braces, and chromatin. Cell 99: 451–454.

Esteller M and Herman JG (2002) Cancer as an epigenetic disease: alterations in DNA methylation and chromatin structure. Journal of Pathology 196: 1–7.

Wade PA and Wolffe AP (2001) Methylated DNA‐binding proteins. Nature Structural Biology 8: 575–577.

Wolfe AP (1998) Chromatin: Structure and Function, 3rd edn. New York, NY: Academic Press.

Web Links

Structure Database of the NCBI

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How to Cite close
Ballestar, Esteban, and Esteller, Manel(Jan 2006) Methylated DNA‐binding Proteins. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0006157]