Structure, function, and mechanism of HhaI DNA methyltransferases

Umesh T. Sankpal, Desirazu N. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A vast amount of literature has accumulated on the characterization of DNA methyltransferases. The HhaI DNA methyltransferase, a C5-cytosine methyltransferase, has been the subject of investigation for the last 2 decades. Biochemical and kinetic characterization have led to an understanding of the catalytic and kinetic mechanism of the methyltransfer reaction. The HhaI methyltransferase has also been subjected to extensive structural analysis, with the availability of 12 structures with or without a cofactor and a variety of DNA substrates. The mechanism of base flipping, first described for the HhaI methyltransferase, is conserved among all DNA methyltransferases and is also found to occur in numerous DNA repair enzymes. Studies with other methyltransferase reveal a significant structural and functional similarity among different types of methyltransferases. This review aims to summarize the available information on the HhaI DNA methyltransferase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-197
Number of pages31
JournalCritical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Base flipping
  • C5-cytosine DNA methyltransferases
  • DNA methylation
  • HhaI methyltransferase


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