DNA demethylase is a processive enzyme

Nadia Cervoni, Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Moshe Szyf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


DNA methylation patterns are generated during development by a sequence of methylation and demethylation events. We have recently demonstrated that mammals bear a bona fide demethylase enzyme that removes methyl groups from methylated cytosines. A general genome wide demethylation occurs early in development and in differentiating cell lines. This manuscript tests the hypothesis that the demethylase enzyme is a processive enzyme. Using bisulfite mapping, this report demonstrates that demethylase is a processive enzyme and that the rate-limiting step in demethylation is the initiation of demethylation. Initiation of demethylation is determined by the properties of the sequence. Once initiated, demethylation progresses processively. We suggest that these data provide a molecular explanation for global hypomethylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8363-8366
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 26 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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