DNMT2 is a subgroup of the eukaryotic cytosine-5 DNA methyltransferase gene family. Unlike the other family members, proteins encoded by DNMT2 genes were not known before to possess DNA methyltransferase activities. Most recently, we have shown that the genome of Drosophila S2 cells stably expressing an exogenous Drosophila dDNMT2 cDNA became anomalously methylated at the 5′-positions of cytosines (Reddy, M. N., Tang, L. Y., Lee, T. L., and Shen, C.-K. J. (2003) Oncogene, in press). We present evidence here that the genomes of transgenic flies overexpressing the dDnmt2 protein also became hypermethylated at specific regions. Furthermore, transient transfection studies in combination with sodium bisulfite sequencing demonstrated that dDnmt2 as well as its mouse ortholog, mDnmt2, are capable of methylating a cotransfected plasmid DNA. These data provide solid evidence that the fly and mouse DNMT2 gene products are genuine cytosine-5 DNA methyltransferases.
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