Skip Navigation
Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions About   Site Map   Contact Us
Home A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®
Printer-friendly version


Reviewed November 2012

What is the official name of the DNMT1 gene?

The official name of this gene is “DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 1.”

DNMT1 is the gene's official symbol. The DNMT1 gene is also known by other names, listed below.

Read more about gene names and symbols on the About page.

What is the normal function of the DNMT1 gene?

The DNMT1 gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1. This enzyme is involved in DNA methylation, which is the addition of methyl groups, consisting of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms (methylation), to DNA molecules. In particular, the enzyme helps add methyl groups to DNA building blocks (nucleotides) called cytosines.

DNA methylation is important in many cellular functions. These include determining whether the instructions in a particular segment of DNA are carried out or suppressed (gene silencing), regulating reactions involving proteins and fats (lipids), and controlling the processing of chemicals that relay signals in the nervous system (neurotransmitters). DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1 is active in the adult nervous system. Although its specific function is not well understood, the enzyme may help regulate nerve cell (neuron) maturation and specialization (differentiation), the ability of neurons to migrate where needed and connect with each other, and neuron survival.

How are changes in the DNMT1 gene related to health conditions?

hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type IE - caused by mutations in the DNMT1 gene

At least three DNMT1 gene mutations have been identified in people with hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN IE), a disorder characterized by a gradual loss of intellectual functions (dementia), deafness, and sensory problems in the feet. The mutations, which are in a region of the gene called exon 20, reduce or eliminate the DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1 enzyme's methylation function. As a result, maintenance of the neurons that make up the nervous system is impaired. However, it is not known how the mutations cause the specific signs and symptoms of HSAN IE.

cancers - associated with the DNMT1 gene

Several normal variations (polymorphisms) in the DNMT1 gene have been associated with an increased risk of cancer, including cancers of the breast and stomach. These variations, which can be passed on from parent to child, may affect the activity of the DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1 enzyme and the way it regulates other genes. Changes in the regulation of these genes can lead to abnormal cell growth and division and increase the risk of cancer.

In addition, increased activity (overexpression) of the DNMT1 gene has been identified in certain brain cancers called gliomas. The genetic changes involved in this overexpression are somatic, which means that they occur only in the tumor cells and are not inherited. Researchers suggest that overexpression of the DNMT1 gene may result in methylation and silencing of genes called tumor suppressors. When tumor suppressor genes are silenced, cells can grow and divide unchecked, which can lead to cancer.

other disorders - caused by mutations in the DNMT1 gene

At least three DNMT1 gene mutations have been identified in people with another nervous system disorder called autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia, deafness, and narcolepsy. Features of this disorder include difficulty coordinating movements (ataxia), hearing loss, and excessive daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy). The mutations associated with this disorder are in a region of the DNMT1 gene known as exon 21, distinct from the mutations that cause HSAN IE (described above) which are in exon 20. Mutations in different locations within the gene may affect the DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1 enzyme differently, which can lead to particular combinations of signs and symptoms.

Where is the DNMT1 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 19p13.2

Molecular Location on chromosome 19: base pairs 10,133,345 to 10,195,079

(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (NCBIThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference.)

The DNMT1 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 19 at position 13.2.

The DNMT1 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 19 at position 13.2.

More precisely, the DNMT1 gene is located from base pair 10,133,345 to base pair 10,195,079 on chromosome 19.

See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about DNMT1?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about DNMT1 helpful.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for the DNMT1 gene or gene products?

  • AIM
  • CXXC9
  • CXXC finger protein 9
  • CXXC-type zinc finger protein 9
  • DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 1
  • DNA methyltransferase 1
  • DNA methyltransferase HsaI
  • DNA MTase HsaI
  • DNMT
  • HSN1E
  • MCMT
  • m.HsaI

Where can I find general information about genes?

The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.

These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.

What glossary definitions help with understanding DNMT1?

ataxia ; atom ; autosomal ; autosomal dominant ; cancer ; cell ; cytosine ; dementia ; differentiation ; DNA ; enzyme ; exon ; gene ; gene silencing ; hereditary ; inherited ; methyl ; methylation ; methyltransferase ; nerve cell ; nervous system ; neuron ; neuropathy ; neurotransmitters ; protein ; stomach ; tumor

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (10 links)


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Reviewed: November 2012
Published: February 1, 2016