Quantification of DNA methyltransferases Dnmt3a and Dnmt3a2, and Dnmt3L in isolated male gonocytes in day 16.5 embryos confirmed that not Dnmt3a but Dnmt3a2 and Dnmt3L were the major Dnmt3s. The expression level of Dnmt3L constituted 5- to 10-fold molar excess compared to that of Dnmt3a2. The stimulation property of the DNA methylation activity of Dnmt3a2 with Dnmt3L towards substrate DNA in naked or nucleosomes was similar to that of Dnmt3a. However, the DNA methylation activity of not Dnmt3a but Dnmt3a2 was severely inhibited at the physiological salt concentration. Interestingly, the activity of Dnmt3a2 was significantly detected in the presence of Dnmt3L even at the physiological salt concentration. This indicates that Dnmt3a2 functions only in the presence of Dnmt3L in male gonocytes, and may explain why Dnmt3L is required specifically in mouse gonocytes for DNA methylation.