5-Formylcytosine can be a stable DNA modification in mammals

June 22nd, 2015 by Martin Bachman

Nature Chemical Biology 11, 555 (2015). doi:10.1038/nchembio.1848

Authors: Martin Bachman, Santiago Uribe-Lewis, Xiaoping Yang, Heather E Burgess, Mario Iurlaro, Wolf Reik, Adele Murrell & Shankar Balasubramanian

5-Formylcytosine (5fC) is a rare base found in mammalian DNA and thought to be involved in active DNA demethylation. Here, we show that developmental dynamics of 5fC levels in mouse DNA differ from those of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), and using stable isotope labeling in vivo, we show that 5fC can be a stable DNA modification. These results suggest that 5fC has functional roles in DNA that go beyond being a demethylation intermediate.