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DNA Methylation and Late Replication Probably Aid Cell Memory, and Type 1 DNA Reeling Could Aid Chromosome Folding and Enhancer Function

A. D. Riggs
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Vol. 326, No. 1235, DNA Methylation and Gene Regulation (Jan. 30, 1990), pp. 285-297
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2398695
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
DNA Methylation and Late Replication Probably Aid Cell Memory, and Type 1 DNA Reeling Could Aid Chromosome Folding and Enhancer Function
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Abstract

DNA methylation in mammals is reviewed, and it is concluded that one role of methylation is to aid cell memory, which is defined as the ability of mitotically derived progeny cells to remember and re-establish their proper cellular identity. Methylation of X-linked CpG-rich islands probably stabilizes X-chromosome inactivation, but other mechanisms appear to be involved. Late replication is discussed as a key ancestral mechanism for X inactivation, and it is emphasized that early and late replication domains may each be self perpetuating. Therefore, early-late replication timing becomes another strong candidate mechanism for cell memory. A chromosome-loop folding enigma is discussed, and it is concluded that special mechanisms are needed to explain the formation and maintenance of specific looped domains. DNA reeling, such as done by type I restriction-modification enzymes, is proposed to provide this special mechanism for folding. DNA reeling mechanisms can help to explain the cis-spreading of X-chromosome inactivation as well as long-range action by enhancers.

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