Timothy H Bestor

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Large-genome eukaryotes use heritable cytosine methylation to silence promoters, especially those associated with transposons and imprinted genes. Cytosine methylation does not reinforce or replace ancestral gene regulation pathways but instead endows methylated genomes with the ability to repress specific promoters in a manner that is buffered against(More)
Gene targeting in embryonic stem (ES) cells has been used to mutate the murine DNA methyltransferase gene. ES cell lines homozygous for the mutation were generated by consecutive targeting of both wild-type alleles; the mutant cells were viable and showed no obvious abnormalities with respect to growth rate or morphology, and had only trace levels of DNA(More)
Small RNAs associate with Argonaute proteins and serve as sequence-specific guides for regulation of mRNA stability, productive translation, chromatin organization, and genome structure. In animals, the Argonaute superfamily segregates into two clades. The Argonaute clade acts in RNAi and in microRNA-mediated gene regulation in partnership with 21-22 nt(More)
piRNAs and Piwi proteins have been implicated in transposon control and are linked to transposon methylation in mammals. Here we examined the construction of the piRNA system in the restricted developmental window in which methylation patterns are set during mammalian embryogenesis. We find robust expression of two Piwi family proteins, MIWI2 and MILI.(More)
Complementary sets of genes are epigenetically silenced in male and female gametes in a process termed genomic imprinting. The Dnmt3L gene is expressed during gametogenesis at stages where genomic imprints are established. Targeted disruption of Dnmt3L caused azoospermia in homozygous males, and heterozygous progeny of homozygous females died before(More)
Mammalian genomes employ heritable cytosine methylation in the long-term silencing of retrotransposons and genes subject to genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation. Little is known of the mechanisms that direct cytosine methylation to specific sequences. Here we show that DNA methyltransferase 3-like (Dnmt3L (ref. 1)) is expressed in testes during(More)
Mammals use DNA methylation for the heritable silencing of retrotransposons and imprinted genes and for the inactivation of the X chromosome in females. The establishment of patterns of DNA methylation during gametogenesis depends in part on DNMT3L, an enzymatically inactive regulatory factor that is related in sequence to the DNA methyltransferases DNMT3A(More)
The biological significance of 5-methylcytosine was in doubt for many years, but is no longer. Through targeted mutagenesis in mice it has been learnt that every protein shown by biochemical tests to be involved in the establishment, maintenance or interpretation of genomic methylation patterns is encoded by an essential gene. A human genetic disorder (ICF(More)
Tissue-specific patterns of methylated deoxycytidine residues in the mammalian genome are preserved by postreplicative methylation of newly synthesized DNA. DNA methyltransferase (MTase) is here shown to associate with replication foci during S phase but to display a diffuse nucleoplasmic distribution in non-S phase cells. Analysis of DNA(More)
Most of the 5-methylcytosine in mammalian DNA resides in transposons, which are specialized intragenomic parasites that represent at least 35% of the genome. Transposon promoters are inactive when methylated and, over time, C-->T transition mutations at methylated sites destroy many transposons. Apart from that subset of genes subject to X inactivation and(More)