Author(s): Sutter D, Doerfler W
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Abstract The adenovirus type 12 (Ad12) DNA sequences integrated into the DNA of four lines of Ad12-transformed hamster cells are extensively methylated. Methylation in mammalian cell DNA is believed to occur predominantly at 5'-C-G-3' sequences. The majority, although not all, of the 5'-C-C-G-G-3' sequences present in integrated Ad12 DNA are methylated. Ad12 DNA isolated from purified virions, on the other hand, is not methylated to any significant extent. The segments of the integrated viral DNA comprising early genes, which are expressed as mRNA in two lines of Ad2-transformed hamster cells, are undermethylated in comparison to late viral segments, which are not expressed and are extensively methylated. In contrast, in two lines of Ad12-induced rat brain tumor cells, some of the late viral genes have been shown to be expressed as mRNA. The segment of the integrated Ad12 DNA that comprises these late genes, the EcoRI B fragment, is undermethylated in comparison to the extensive methylation of the same fragment in Ad12-transformed hamster cells. Thus, there appears to exist a striking inverse correlation between the levels of methylation of specific DNA segments and the extent to which these segments are expressed as mRNA. The functional significance of this correlation remains to be determined. It may provide a clue to understanding the regulation of gene expression in transformed cells and perhaps in eukaryotic cells in general.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Cell & Developmental Biology