The repertoire of nucleobase methylation in DNA and RNA, introduced by chemical agents or enzymes, is large. Most methylation can be reversed either directly by restoration of the original nucleobase or indirectly by replacement of the methylated nucleobase with an unmodified nucleobase. In many direct and indirect demethylation reactions, ALKBH (AlkB homolog) and TET (ten eleven translocation) hydroxylases play a role. Here, we suggest a chemical classification of methylation types. We then discuss pathways for removal, emphasizing oxidation reactions. We highlight the recently expanded repertoire of ALKBH- and TET-catalyzed reactions and describe the discovery of a TET-like protein that resembles the hydroxylases but uses an alternative co-factor and catalyzes glyceryl transfer rather than hydroxylation.
Nat Chem Biol (Nature chemical biology)
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