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Methylation of DNA -- One of the Major Epigenetic Markers

S. V. Salozhin*, E. B. Prokhorchuk, and G. P. Georgiev

Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Vavilova 34/5, 119334 Moscow, Russia; fax: (7-095) 135-4105; E-mail: salozhin@co.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received November 4, 2004
Regulation of gene expression is a complex process. It includes a great number of steps from control of mRNA synthesis to posttranslational modification of proteins. Epigenetic events play essential roles in regulation of transcription. In this review, we concentrate on methylation of DNA as one of the important epigenetic marks. It is well known that DNA methylation is associated with closed chromatin state and, therefore, repressed, inactive genes. Here we describe major processes that depend on DNA methylation: imprinting, X-inactivation, and oncogenesis. Also we describe a number of known methyl-DNA-binding proteins and links between methylation of DNA and higher-order chromatin structure.
KEY WORDS: DNA methylation, epigenetics, imprinting, methyl-DNA-binding proteins