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      Tet proteins can convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine.

      Science (New York, N.Y.)

      metabolism, 5-Methylcytosine, Animals, Cell Line, Cytosine, analogs & derivatives, DNA, DNA Methylation, DNA-Binding Proteins, genetics, Embryonic Stem Cells, Humans, Mice, Oxidation-Reduction, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Recombinant Fusion Proteins

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          Abstract

          5-methylcytosine (5mC) in DNA plays an important role in gene expression, genomic imprinting, and suppression of transposable elements. 5mC can be converted to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) by the Tet (ten eleven translocation) proteins. Here, we show that, in addition to 5hmC, the Tet proteins can generate 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC) from 5mC in an enzymatic activity-dependent manner. Furthermore, we reveal the presence of 5fC and 5caC in genomic DNA of mouse embryonic stem cells and mouse organs. The genomic content of 5hmC, 5fC, and 5caC can be increased or reduced through overexpression or depletion of Tet proteins. Thus, we identify two previously unknown cytosine derivatives in genomic DNA as the products of Tet proteins. Our study raises the possibility that DNA demethylation may occur through Tet-catalyzed oxidation followed by decarboxylation.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Conversion of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in mammalian DNA by MLL partner TET1.

          DNA cytosine methylation is crucial for retrotransposon silencing and mammalian development. In a computational search for enzymes that could modify 5-methylcytosine (5mC), we identified TET proteins as mammalian homologs of the trypanosome proteins JBP1 and JBP2, which have been proposed to oxidize the 5-methyl group of thymine. We show here that TET1, a fusion partner of the MLL gene in acute myeloid leukemia, is a 2-oxoglutarate (2OG)- and Fe(II)-dependent enzyme that catalyzes conversion of 5mC to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) in cultured cells and in vitro. hmC is present in the genome of mouse embryonic stem cells, and hmC levels decrease upon RNA interference-mediated depletion of TET1. Thus, TET proteins have potential roles in epigenetic regulation through modification of 5mC to hmC.
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            The nuclear DNA base 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is present in Purkinje neurons and the brain.

            Despite the importance of epigenetic regulation in neurological disorders, little is known about neuronal chromatin. Cerebellar Purkinje neurons have large and euchromatic nuclei, whereas granule cell nuclei are small and have a more typical heterochromatin distribution. While comparing the abundance of 5-methylcytosine in Purkinje and granule cell nuclei, we detected the presence of an unusual DNA nucleotide. Using thin-layer chromatography, high-pressure liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry, we identified the nucleotide as 5-hydroxymethyl-2'-deoxycytidine (hmdC). hmdC constitutes 0.6% of total nucleotides in Purkinje cells, 0.2% in granule cells, and is not present in cancer cell lines. hmdC is a constituent of nuclear DNA that is highly abundant in the brain, suggesting a role in epigenetic control of neuronal function.
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              Role of Tet proteins in 5mC to 5hmC conversion, ES-cell self-renewal and inner cell mass specification.

              DNA methylation is one of the best-characterized epigenetic modifications. Although the enzymes that catalyse DNA methylation have been characterized, enzymes responsible for demethylation have been elusive. A recent study indicates that the human TET1 protein could catalyse the conversion of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) of DNA to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), raising the possibility that DNA demethylation may be a Tet1-mediated process. Here we extend this study by demonstrating that all three mouse Tet proteins (Tet1, Tet2 and Tet3) can also catalyse a similar reaction. Tet1 has an important role in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell maintenance through maintaining the expression of Nanog in ES cells. Downregulation of Nanog via Tet1 knockdown correlates with methylation of the Nanog promoter, supporting a role for Tet1 in regulating DNA methylation status. Furthermore, knockdown of Tet1 in pre-implantation embryos results in a bias towards trophectoderm differentiation. Thus, our studies not only uncover the enzymatic activity of the Tet proteins, but also demonstrate a role for Tet1 in ES cell maintenance and inner cell mass cell specification.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                21778364
                3495246
                10.1126/science.1210597

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