The pattern of methylation of mouse mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was studied using several techniques. By employing a sensitive analytical procedure it was possible to show that this DNA contains the modified base 5-methylcytosine (m5Cyt). This residue occurred exclusively at the dinucleo-tide sequence CpG at a frequency of 3 to 5%. The pattern of methylation was further investigated by determining the state of methylation of several MspI(HpaII) sites. Different sites were found to be methylated to a different extent, implying that methylation of mtDNA is nonrandom. Based on the known base composition and nucleotide sequence of mouse mtDNA, the dinucleo-tide sequence CpG was found to be underrepresented in this DNA.The features of mtDNA methylation (CpG methylation, partial methylation of specific sites and CpG underrepresentation) are also characteristic of vertebrate nuclear DNA. This resemblance may reflect functional relationship between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes.
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