World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000089232
Reproduction Date:

Title: 5-Methylcytosine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine, Deamination, Nucleobase, Epigenetics, Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation
Collection: Nucleobases, Pyrimidones
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


IUPAC name
ChemSpider  Y
Jmol-3D images Image
Molar mass 125.13 g·mol−1
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 Y  (: Y/N?)

5-Methylcytosine is a methylated form of the DNA base cytosine that may be involved in the regulation of gene transcription. When cytosine is methylated, the DNA maintains the same sequence, but the expression of methylated genes can be altered (the study of this is part of the field of epigenetics). 5-Methylcytosine is incorporated in the nucleoside 5-methylcytidine.

In 5-methylcytosine, a methyl group is attached to the 5th atom in the 6-atom ring (counting counterclockwise from the NH nitrogen at the six o'clock position, not the 2 o'clock). This methyl group distinguishes 5-methylcytosine from cytosine.


  • Discovery 1
  • In vivo 2
  • In vitro 3
  • References 4
  • Literature 5


While trying to isolate the bacterial toxin responsible for tuberculosis, W.G. Ruppel isolated a novel nucleic acid named tuberculinic acid in 1898 from Tubercle bacillus.[1] The nucleic acid was found to be unusual, in that it contained in addition to thymine, guanine and cytosine, a methylated nucleotide. In 1925, Johnson and Coghill successfully detected a minor amount of a methylated cytosine derivative as a product of hydrolysis of tuberculinic acid with sulfuric acid.[2][3] This report was severely criticized because their identification based solely on the optical properties of the crystalline picrate, and other scientists failed to reproduce the same result.[4] But the existence was ultimately proved a fact in 1948, when Hotchkiss separated the nucleic acids of DNA from calf thymus using paper chromatography, by which he detected a unique methylated cytosine, quite distinct from conventional cytosine and uracil.[5] After seven decades, it turned out that it is also a common feature in different RNA molecules, although the precise role is uncertain.[6]

In vivo

5-Methylcytosine is an epigenetic modification formed by the action of DNA methyltransferases.

The function of this chemical varies significantly among species:[7]

  • In bacteria, 5-methylcytosine can be found at a variety of sites, and is often used as a marker to protect DNA from being cut by native methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes.
  • In plants, 5-methylcytosine occurs at CpG, CpHpG and CpHpH sequences (where H = A, C or T).
  • In fungi and animals, 5-methylcytosine predominantly occurs at CpG dinucleotides. Most eukaryotes methylate only a small percentage of these sites, but 70-80% of CpG cytosines are methylated in vertebrates.

While spontaneous


  1. ^ Matthews AP (2012). Physiological Chemistry. Williams & Wilkins Company/. p. 167.  
  2. ^ Johnson TB, Coghill RD (1925). "The discovery of 5-methyl-cytosine in tuberculinic acid, the nucleic acid of the Tubercle bacillus". J Am Chem Soc 47 (11): 2838–2844.  
  3. ^ Grosjean H (2009). Nucleic Acids Are Not Boring Long Polymers of Only Four Types of Nucleotides: A Guided Tour. Landes Bioscience.
  4. ^ Vischer E, Zamenhof S, Chargaff E (1949). "Microbial nucleic acids: the desoxypentose nucleic acids of avian tubercle bacilli and yeast". J Biol Chem 77 (1): 429–438.  
  5. ^ Hotchkiss RD (1948). "The quantitative separation of purines, pyrimidines and nucleosides by paper chromatography". J Biol Chem 175 (1): 315–332.  
  6. ^ Squires JE, Patel HR, Nousch M, Sibbritt T, Humphreys DT, Parker BJ, Suter CM, Preiss T. (2012). "Widespread occurrence of 5-methylcytosine in human coding and non-coding RNA". Nucleic Acids Res 40 (11): 5023–5033.  
  7. ^ Colot V, Rossignol JL (1999). "Eukaryotic DNA methylation as an evolutionary device". BioEssays 21 (5): 402–411.  
  8. ^ Chahwan R., Wontakal S.N., and Roa S. (2010). "Crosstalk between genetic and epigenetic information through cytosine deamination". Trends in Genetics 26 (10): 443–448.  
  9. ^ Clark SJ, Harrison J, Paul CL, Frommer M (1994). "High sensitivity mapping of methylated cytosines". Nucleic Acids Res. 22 (15): 2990–2997.  


5-Methylcytosine is resistant to deamination by bisulfite treatment, which deaminates cytosine residues. This property is often exploited to analyze DNA cytosine methylation patterns with bisulfite sequencing.[9]

Deamination of 5-methylcytosine to thymine

The NH2 group can be removed (deamination) from 5-methylcytosine to form thymine with use of reagents such as nitrous acid; cytosine deaminates to uracil under similar conditions.

In vitro

, on the other hand, remains less understood. 5-hydroxymethylcytosine The implications of deamination on [8]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.