Base pairing of anhydrohexitol nucleosides with 2,6-diaminopurine, 5-methylcytosine and uracil asbase moiety.
Hexitol nucleic acids (HNAs) with modified bases (5-methylcytosine, 2,6-diaminopurine or uracil) were synthesized. The introduction of the 5-methylcytosine base demonstrates that N -benzoylated 5-methylcytosyl-hexitol occurs as the imino tautomer. The base pairing systems (G:CMe, U:D, T:D and U:A) obey Watson-Crick rules. Substituting hT for hU, hCMefor hC and hD for hA generally leads to increased duplex stability. In a single case, replacement of hC by hCMedid not result in duplex stabilization. This sequence-specific effect could be explained by the geometry of the model duplex used for carrying out the thermal stability study. Generally, polypurine HNA sequences give more stable duplexes with their RNA complement than polypyrimidine HNA sequences. This observation supports the hypothesis that, besides changes in stacking pattern, the difference in conformational stress between purine and pyrimidine nucleosides may contribute to duplex stability. Introduction of hCMeand hD in HNA sequences further increases the potential of HNA to function as a steric blocking agent. (+info
Relationship between amount of esterase and gene copy number in insecticide-resistant Myzus persicae (Sulzer).
Overproduction of the insecticide-degrading esterases, E4 and FE4, in peach-potato aphids, Myzus persicae (Sulzer), depends on both gene amplification and transcriptional control, the latter being associated with changes in DNA methylation. The structure and function of the aphid esterase genes have been studied but the determination of their copy number has proved difficult, a common problem with gene amplification. We have now used a combination of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and quantitative competitive PCR to determine relative esterase gene copy numbers in aphid clones with different levels of insecticide resistance (R1, R2 and R3). There are approx. 4-fold increases between susceptible, R1, R2 and R3 aphids, reaching a maximum of approx. 80 times more genes in R3; this gives proportionate increases in esterase protein relative to susceptible aphids. Thus there is no overexpression of the amplified genes, in contrast with what was thought previously. For E4 genes, the loss of 5-methylcytosine is correlated with a loss of expression, greatly decreasing the amount of enzyme relative to the copy number. (+info
DNA methylation is a reversible biological signal.
The pattern of DNA methylation plays an important role in regulating different genome functions. To test the hypothesis that DNA methylation is a reversible biochemical process, we purified a DNA demethylase from human cells that catalyzes the cleavage of a methyl residue from 5-methyl cytosine and its release as methanol. We show that similar to DNA methyltransferase, DNA demethylase shows CpG dinucleotide specificity, can demethylate mdCpdG sites in different sequence contexts, and demethylates both fully methylated and hemimethylated DNA. Thus, contrary to the commonly accepted model, DNA methylation is a reversible signal, similar to other physiological biochemical modifications. (+info
Identification of differentially methylated sequences in colorectal cancer by methylated CpG island amplification.
CpG island methylation has been linked to tumor suppressor gene inactivation in neoplasia and may serve as a useful marker to clone novel cancer-related genes. We have developed a novel PCR-based method, methylated CpG island amplification (MCA), which is useful for both methylation analysis and cloning differentially methylated genes. Using restriction enzymes that have differential sensitivity to 5-methyl-cytosine, followed by adaptor ligation and PCR amplification, methylated CpG rich sequences can be preferentially amplified. In a model experiment using a probe from exon 1 of the p16 gene, signal was detected from MCA products of a colorectal cancer cell line but not in normal colon mucosa. To identify novel CpG islands differentially methylated in colorectal cancer, we have applied MCA coupled with representational difference analysis to the colon cancer cell line Caco2 as a tester and normal colon mucosa as a driver. Using this strategy, we isolated 33 differentially methylated DNA sequences, including fragments identical to several known genes (PAX6, Versican, alpha-tubulin, CSX, OPT, and rRNA gene). The association of hypermethylation of the clones obtained and transcriptional suppression in colorectal cancer was confirmed by examining the Versican gene, which we found to be silenced in methylated cell lines and reactivated by the methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. We therefore propose that MCA is a useful technique to study methylation and to isolate CpG islands differentially methylated in cancer. (+info
Growth phase-dependent regulation of Vsr endonuclease may contribute to 5-methylcytosine mutational hot spots in Escherichia coli.
Using rabbit polyclonal antibodies, we have shown that the Dcm cytosine methylase of Escherichia coli is maintained at a constant level during cell growth, while Vsr endonuclease levels are growth phase dependent. Decreased production of Vsr relative to Dcm during the log phase may contribute substantially to the mutability of 5-methylcytosine. (+info
Impact of C5-cytosine methylation on the solution structure of d(GAAAACGTTTTC)2. An NMR and molecular modelling investigation.
The solution structures of d(GAAAACGTTTTC)2 and of its methylated derivative d(GAAAAMe5CGTTTTC)2 have been determined by NMR and molecular modelling in order to examine the impact of cytosine methylation on the central CpG conformation. Detailed 1H NMR and 31P NMR investigation of the two oligomers includes quantitative NOESY, 2D homonuclear Hartmann-Hahn spectroscopy, double-quantum-filtered COSY and heteronuclear 1H-31P correlation. Back-calculations of NOESY spectra and simulations of double-quantum-filtered COSY patterns were performed to gain accurate information on interproton distances and sugar phase angles. Molecular models under experimental constraints were generated by energy minimization by means of the molecular mechanics program JUMNA. The MORASS software was used to iteratively refine the structures obtained. After methylation, the oligomer still has a B-DNA conformation. However, there are differences in the structural parameters and the thermal stability as compared to the unmethylated molecule. Careful structural analysis shows that after methylation CpG departs from the usual conformation observed in other ACGT tetramers with different surroundings. Subtle displacements of bases, sugars and backbone imposed by the steric interaction of the two methyl groups inside the major groove are accompanied by severe pinching of the minor groove at the C-G residues. (+info
The role of the Escherichia coli mug protein in the removal of uracil and 3,N(4)-ethenocytosine from DNA.
The human thymine-DNA glycosylase has a sequence homolog in Escherichia coli that is described to excise uracils from U.G mismatches (Gallinari, P., and Jiricny, J. (1996) Nature 383, 735-738) and is named mismatched uracil glycosylase (Mug). It has also been described to remove 3,N(4)-ethenocytosine (epsilonC) from epsilonC.G mismatches (Saparbaev, M., and Laval, J. (1998) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 95, 8508-8513). We used a mug mutant to clarify the role of this protein in DNA repair and mutation avoidance. We find that inactivation of mug has no effect on C to T or 5-methylcytosine to T mutations in E. coli and that this contrasts with the effect of ung defect on C to T mutations and of vsr defect on 5-methylcytosine to T mutations. Even under conditions where it is overproduced in cells, Mug has little effect on the frequency of C to T mutations. Because uracil-DNA glycosylase (Ung) and Vsr are known to repair U.G and T.G mismatches, respectively, we conclude that Mug does not repair U.G or T.G mismatches in vivo. A defect in mug also has little effect on forward mutations, suggesting that Mug does not play a role in avoiding mutations due to endogenous damage to DNA in growing E. coli. Cell-free extracts from mug(+) ung cells show very little ability to remove uracil from DNA, but can excise epsilonC. The latter activity is missing in extracts from mug cells, suggesting that Mug may be the only enzyme in E. coli that can remove this mutagenic adduct. Thus, the principal role of Mug in E. coli may be to help repair damage to DNA caused by exogenous chemical agents such as chloroacetaldehyde. (+info
5-Methylcytosine distribution and genome organization in triticale before and after treatment with 5-azacytidine.
Triticale (2n=6x=42) is a hybrid plant including rye (R) and wheat (A and B) genomes. Using genomic in situ hybridization with rye DNA as a probe, we found the chromosomes of the R genome were not intermixed with the wheat chromosomes in 85% of nuclei. After treatment of seedlings with low doses of the drug 5-azacytidine (5-AC), leading to hypomethylation of the DNA, the chromosomes became intermixed in 60% of nuclei; the next generation showed intermediate organization. These results correlate with previous data showing that expression of R-genome rRNA genes, normally suppressed, is activated by 5-AC treatment and remains partially activated in the next generation. The distribution of 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) was studied using an antibody to 5-mC. Methylation was detected along the lengths of all chromosomes; there were some chromosome regions with enhanced and reduced methylation, but these were not located at consistent positions, nor were there differences between R and wheat genome chromosomes. After 5-AC treatment, lower levels of methylation were detected. After 5-AC treatment, in situ hybridization with rye genomic DNA sometimes showed micronuclei of rye origin and multiple translocations between wheat and rye chromosomes. Genomic DNA was analysed using methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes and, as probes, two rDNA sequences, two tandemly organised DNA sequences from rye (pSc200 and pSc250), and copia and the gypsy group retrotransposon fragments from rye and wheat. DNA extracted immediately after 5-AC treatment was cut more by methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes than DNA from untreated seedlings. Each probe gave a characteristic restriction fragment pattern, but rye- and wheat-origin probes behaved similarly, indicating that hypomethylation was induced in both genomes. In DNA samples from leaves taken 13-41 days after treatment, RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) patterns were indistinguishable from controls and 5-AC treatments with all probes. Surprising differences in hybridization patterns were seen between DNA from root tips and leaves with the copia-fragment probes. (+info