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Logo of bmcbiocBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Biochemistry
BMC Biochem. 2011; 12: 16.
Published online 2011 April 21. doi:  10.1186/1471-2091-12-16
PMCID: PMC3102611

The inhibition of the mammalian DNA methyltransferase 3a (Dnmt3a) by dietary black tea and coffee polyphenols



Black tea is, second only to water, the most consumed beverage globally. Previously, the inhibition of DNA methyltransferase 1 was shown by dietary polyphenols and epi-gallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the main polyphenolic constituent of green tea, and 5-caffeoyl quinic acid, the main phenolic constituent of the green coffee bean.


We studied the inhibition of DNA methyltransferase 3a by a series of dietary polyphenols from black tea such as theaflavins and thearubigins and chlorogenic acid derivatives from coffee. For theaflavin 3,3 digallate and thearubigins IC50 values in the lower micro molar range were observed, which when compared to pharmacokinetic data available, suggest an effect of physiological relevance.


Since Dnnmt3a has been associated with development, cancer and brain function, these data suggest a biochemical mechanism for the beneficial health effect of black tea and coffee and a possible molecular mechanism for the improvement of brain performance and mental health by dietary polyphenols.

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