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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Inhibition of DNA methylation by S-adenosylethionine with the production of methyl-deficient DNA in regenerating rat liver.

Ethionine, a liver carcinogen, was administered p.o. (300 mg/kg) to rats 17 hr after partial hepatectomy. At 6 hr after administration of the ethionine, hepatic S-adenosylethionine levels were 30- to 40-fold greater than the hepatic level of S-adenosylmethionine. A 10-fold ratio of S-adenosylethionine to S-adenosylmethionine still persited at 24 hr after ethionine administration. When given at 17 hr after partial hepatectomy, ethionine produced a 30% inhibition of DNA synthesis, measured by the incorporation of [methyl-3H]thymidine at 23 to 24 hr after partial hepatectomy (6 to 7 hr after ethionine administration). DNA synthesized during this interval was methyl deficient as judged by the reduced incorporation of radioactivity from L-[methyl-3H]methionine into 5-methylcytosine residues of DNA. In an assay for DNA methylation in vitro using whole nuclei, the methyl-deficient DNA was methylated by S-adenosylmethionine 8 times more than was control DNA; the DNA methylation was competitively inhibited by S-adenosylethionine. These data suggest that S-adenosylethionine, formed in vivo from ethionine, competitively inhibits the methylation of DNA in vivo by S-adenosylmethionine, resulting in the production of methyl-deficient DNA.[1]


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