Submitted to: Genetics and Epigenetics
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2013
Publication Date: 7/28/2013
Citation: Li, C. 2013. DNA demethylation pathways: recent insights. Genetics and Epigenetics. 2013:5 43-49. Interpretive Summary: This is an invited review on one of the most active research topics in epigenetic regulation. Methylation sites in DNA serve as marks in an animal’s genome. A function of these marks is to regulate how and when specific genes are turned on and turned off,which affects cell differentiation, development, and function. Therefore, it is very important to understand how these marks are established or removed from the genome. This article reviews the recent research insights in this area, and will assist those studying epigenetic regulation.
Technical Abstract: DNA methylation is a major epigenetic regulatory mechanism for gene expression and cell differentiation. While methyltransferases mediate cytosine methylation, until recently, it was still less clear how unmethylated regions in mammalian genomes are protected from de novo methylation and whether active demethylating activity is involved. Even the roles of molecules and mechanisms underlying the processes of active demethylation itself are very blurred. Emerging sequencing technologies have led to recent insights into the dynamic distribution of DNA methylation during development and the role of this epigenetic mark within a distinct genome context, such as the promoters, exons or imprinted control regions. One of the most fundamental areas of recent research interest is active DNA demethylation in mammalian cells.