DNA methylation at C of CpG dyads (m CpG) in vertebrate genomes is essential for gene regulation, genome stability and development. We show in this study that proper functioning of post-replicative DNA mismatch repair (MMR) in mammalian cells relies on the presence of genomic m CpG, as well as on the maintenance DNA methyltransferase Dnmt1 independently of its catalytic activity. More importantly, high efficiency of mammalian MMR surveillance is achieved through a hemi- m CpG-Np95(Uhrf1)-Dnmt1 axis, in which the MMR surveillance complex(es) is recruited to post-replicative DNA by Dnmt1, requiring its interactions with MutSα, as well as with Np95 bound at the hemi-methylated CpG sites. Thus, efficiency of MMR surveillance over the mammalian genome in vivo is enhanced at the epigenetic level. This synergy endows vertebrate CpG methylation with a new biological significance and, consequently, an additional mechanism for the maintenance of vertebrate genome stability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas