Spl elements protect a CpG island from de novo methylation

Michael Brandeis*, Dale Frank, Iiana Keshet, Zahava Siegfried, Monica Mendelsohn, Adriana Names, Violet Temper, Aharon Razin, Howard Cedar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

634 Scopus citations


ANIMAL somatic cell DNA is characterized by a bimodal pattern of methylation: tissue-specific genes are methylated in most cell types whereas housekeeping genes have 5′ CpG islands which are constitutively unmethylated1,2. Because methyl moieties derived from the gametes are erased in the morula and early blastula3, this profile must be re-established in every generation; this is apparently accomplished by a wave of non-CpG island de novo methylation that occurs at implantation4. Using transfection into embryonic stem cells and transgenic mice as a model system, we now show that Spl elements play a key role in protecting a CpG island in the adenine phosphor!bosyItransferase (APRT) gene from de novo methylation. This recognition mechanism represents a critical step in embryogenesis, as it is responsible for setting up the correct genome methylation pattern which, in turn, is involved in regulating basal gene expression in the organism5.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)435-438
Number of pages4
Issue number6496
StatePublished - 1994


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