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NAR Molecular Biology Database Collection entry number 19
Grunau, C.1, Renault, E.1, Hindermann, W.2, Roizes, G.1
1Institut de Genetique humaine (CNRS 1142) 141 rue de la Cardonille 34396 Montpellier FRANCE
2Institut fuer Pathologie (FSU Jena) Ziegenmuehlenweg 1 07745 Jena GERMANY

Database Description

Methylation of cytosine in the 5 position of the pyrimidine ring is a major modification of the DNA in most organisms. In eucaryotes, the distribution and number of 5-methylcytosines (5mC) along the DNA is heritable but can also change with the developmental state of the cell and as a response to modifications of the environment. DNA methylation has a number of epigenetic functions, but the scientific interest has recently focused on the gene silencing effect methylation can have in eucaryotic cells. In particular, the discovery of changes of the methylation level during cancer development has increased the interest in this field. It was also brought to light that of nutrition and drugs can influence DNA methylation patterns. We have established MethDB a public database for DNA methylation ( This constantly growing data base has become a key resource in the field of DNA methylation research. The database contains currently methylation patterns, profiles and total methylation content data for 46 species, 160 tissues and 72 phenotypes coming from a total of 6667 experiments (as of 4/9/2002). These data can be conviniently searched and represented in different ways. Recently, we have included an on-line submission tool that permits the scientific public to directly enter data into MethDB.

Recent Developments

- on-line submission tool - histopathological images for many tissues and tumor types - completely re-annotated description of tissues and phenotypes - new data representations


The database was supported by a grant of the Klaus-Tschira-Foundation Heidelberg (Germany).


1. Grunau C, Schattevoy R, Mache N, Rosenthal A. MethTools--a toolbox to visualize and analyze DNA methylation data. Nucleic Acids Res. 2000 Mar 1;28(5):1053-8.
2. Grunau C, Renault E, Rosenthal A, Roizes G. MethDB--a public database for DNA methylation data. Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Jan 1;29(1):270-4.
3. Grunau C, Renault E, Roizes G. DNA Methylation Database 'MethDB': a User Guide. J Nutr. 2002 Aug;132(8):2435S-9S.

Go to the abstract in the NAR 2001 Database Issue.
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