A DNA sequence is the hard copy of the human genome and it is a driving force in determining the physiological processes in an organism. Concurrently, the chemical modification of the genome and its related histone proteins is dynamically involved in regulating physiological processes and diseases, which overall constitutes the epigenome network. Among the various forms of epigenetic modifications, DNA methylation at the C-5 position of cytosine in the cytosine–guanine (CpG) dinucleotide is one of the most well studied epigenetic modifications. DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) are a family of enzymes involved in generating and maintaining CpG methylation across the genome. In mammalian systems, DNA methylation is performed by DNMT1 and DNMT3s (DNMT3A and 3B). DNMT1 is predominantly involved in the maintenance of DNA methylation during cell division, while DNMT3s are involved in establishing de novo
cytosine methylation and maintenance in both embryonic and somatic cells. In general, all DNMTs require accessory proteins, such as ubiquitin-like containing plant homeodomain (PHD) and really interesting new gene (RING) finger domain 1 (UHRF1) or DNMT3-like (DNMT3L), for their biological function. This review mainly focuses on the role of DNMT3B and its isoforms in de novo
methylation and maintenance of DNA methylation, especially with respect to their role as an accessory protein.
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