A common mode of recognition for methylated CpG Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Liu, Yiwei; Zhang, Xing; Blumenthal, Robert M; Cheng, Xiaodong


  • Much is known about vertebrate DNA methylation, however it is not known how methylated CpG within particular sequences is recognized. Two recent structures of C2H2 zinc finger (ZnF) proteins in complex with methylated DNA reveal a common recognition mode for 5-methylcytosine (5mC) that involves a 5mC-Arg-G triad. In the two ZnF proteins, an arginine that precedes the first Zn-binding histidine (RH motif) can interact with a 5mCpG or TpG dinucleotide. Among a family of >300 human Kr├╝ppel-associated box (KRAB) domain containing ZnF proteins examined, two-thirds contained at least one ZnF that included an RH motif. We propose that the RH-ZnF motifs provide specificity for 5mCpG, whereas the neighboring Zn fingers recognize the surrounding DNA sequence context.

publication date

  • 2013

published in

start page

  • 177

end page

  • 83


  • 38