Oncology Central

3-methylcytosine in cancer: an underappreciated methyl lesion?

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DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mark modulating many developmental and potentially pathological processes. Changes in DNA methylation are often observed in cancer and, cytosine methylation in particular, can be mediated enzymatically, resulting in, for example, 5-methylcytosine (5mC) or chemically, resulting in, for example, 3-methylcytosine (3mC) [1,2]. If base pairing is affected by methylation as it is by 3mC, it can lead to methyl lesions which, if refractory to repair, can add to the mutational burden of affected cells. Here, we explore some underappreciated properties of 3mC in cancer.

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