Definition of Methylation

Methylation: 1. In chemistry, the addition of a methyl group to a molecule. 2. On a protein level, the addition of a methyl group or groups to the amino acid arginine or lysine in a protein. 3. On a DNA level, the addition of a methyl group to a cytosine residue to convert it to 5-methylcytosine. Methylation of DNA occurs at CpG sites, where cytosine (C) lies next to guanine (G). The CpG sites are in regions near the promoters of a genes. These regions are known as CpG islands. The state of methylation of CpG islands is critical to both gene activity and gene expression.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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