The establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation patterns in mouse somatic cells

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Somatic cell DNA methylation patterns in mammals are established during embryonic development and are then maintained somewhat faithfully for the remainder of the individual's lifetime. Pattern formation can be divided into a series of linked steps that include demethylation, de novo methylation, methylation spreading, methylation blocking, and maintenance methylation. In this review, these steps will be combined to present a model for the formation and maintenance of a methylation pattern in the 5' region of the mouse Aprt gene. This model suggests that an apparently 'stable' methylation pattern results from a dynamic equilibrium between forces that promote and inhibit methylation spreading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999



  • De novo methylation
  • Demethylation
  • Methylation blocking
  • Methylation pattern
  • Methylation spreading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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