Mouse DNA methyltransferase is able to catalyse the transfer of a methyl group to certain CG-containing single-stranded oligonucleotides. The presence of a methylcytosine is required for efficient transfer. This methylcytosine may or may not be on the same oligonucleotide as that containing the accepting CG dinucleotide. When the accepting CG dinucleotide forms part of an unmethylated CG dinucleotide pair, its accepting activity is dramatically reduced. This provides the potential for methylation to spread along the DNA when it is rendered single-stranded at replication. It could also help to maintain fully methylated CG islands and asymmetrically methylated sites.

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