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DNA Methylation Pattern is Determined by the Intracellular Level of the Methylase

Moshe Szyf, Kadmiella Avraham-Haetzni, Arieh Reifman, Joseph Shlomai, Feige Kaplan, Amos Oppenheim and Aharon Razin
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 81, No. 11, [Part 1: Biological Sciences] (Jun. 1, 1984), pp. 3278-3282
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23817
Page Count: 5
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DNA Methylation Pattern is Determined by the Intracellular Level of the Methylase
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Abstract

Extrachromosomal plasmid DNA is transiently undermethylated in Escherichia coli during amplification in the presence of chloramphenicol. In addition, under-methylation of phage λ DNA was observed after thermal induction of a λ cI857 lysogen while the integrated λ phage DNA was found to be fully methylated. These methylation pattern changes occur under conditions (extensive replication) in which the intracellular methylase level becomes limiting. In an E. coli strain that harbors a plasmid that carries the dam methylase gene and therefore overproduces dam methylase, there is no undermethylation of dam sites in either of the extra-chromosomal DNAs. The sites that are methylated by the mec methylase in both plasmid and λ phage DNAs were under-methylated in the dam overproducer as well. These results indicate that the intracellular level of the E. coli methylase determines the DNA methylation pattern.

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