The DNA methyltransferase-like protein DNMT3L stimulates de novo methylation by Dnmt3a

Frederic Chedin, Michael R. Lieber, Chih Lin Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

342 Scopus citations


Dnmt3L is required for the establishment of maternal methylation imprints at imprinting centers (ICs). Dnmt3L, however, lacks the conserved catalytic domain common to DNA methyltransferases. In an attempt to define its function, we coexpressed DNMT3L with each of the two known de novo methyltransferases, Dnmt3a and DNMT3B, in human cells and monitored de novo methylation by using replicating minichromosomes carrying various ICs as targets. Coexpression of DNMT3L with DNMT3B led to little or no change in target methylation. However, coexpression of DNMT3L with Dnmt3a resulted in a striking stimulation of de novo methylation by Dnmt3a. Stimulation was observed at maternally methylated ICs such as small nuclear ribonucleoprotein polypeptide N (SNRPN), Snrpn, and Igf2r/Air, as well as at various nonimprinted sequences present on the episomes. Stimulation of Dnmt3a by DNMT3L was also observed at endogenous sequences in the genome. Therefore, DNMT3L acts as a general stimulatory factor for de novo methylation by Dnmt3a. The implications of these findings for the function of DNMT3L and Dnmt3a in DNA methylation and genomic imprinting are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16916-16921
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 24 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'The DNA methyltransferase-like protein DNMT3L stimulates de novo methylation by Dnmt3a'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this