No evidence for DNA N6-methyladenine in mammals

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  18 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 12, eaay3335
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay3335


N6-methyladenine (6mdA) is a widespread DNA modification in bacteria. More recently, 6mdA has also been characterized in mammalian DNA. However, measurements of 6mdA abundance and profiles are often very dissimilar between studies, even when performed on DNA from identical mammalian cell types. Using comprehensive bioinformatics analyses of published data and novel experimental approaches, we reveal that efforts to assay 6mdA in mammals have been severely compromised by bacterial contamination, RNA contamination, technological limitations, and antibody nonspecificity. These complications render 6mdA an exceptionally problematic DNA modification to study and have resulted in erroneous detection of 6mdA in several mammalian systems. Together, our results strongly imply that the evidence published to date is not sufficient to support the presence of 6mdA in mammals.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances