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Whole-genome DNA methylation profile of the jewel wasp (Nasonia vitripennis).
ABSTRACT: The epigenetic mark of DNA methylation, the addition of a methyl (CH3) group to a cytosine residue, has been extensively studied in many mammalian genomes and, although it is commonly found at the promoter regions of genes, it is also involved in a number of different biological functions. In other complex animals, such as social insects, DNA methylation has been determined to be involved in caste differentiation and to occur primarily in gene bodies. The role of methylation in nonsocial insects, however, has not yet been explored thoroughly. Here, we present the whole-genome DNA methylation profile of the nonsocial hymenopteran, the jewel wasp (Nasonia vitripennis). From high-throughput sequencing of bisulfite-converted gDNA extracted from male Nasonia thoraces, we were able to determine which cytosine residues are methylated in the entire genome. We found that an overwhelming majority of methylated sites (99.7%) occur at cytosines followed by a guanine in the 3' direction (CpG sites). Additionally, we found that a majority of methylation in Nasonia occurs within exonic regions of the genome (more than 62%). Overall, methylation is sparse in Nasonia, occurring only at 0.18% of all sites and at 0.63% of CpGs. Our analysis of the Nasonia methylome revealed that in contrast to the methylation profile typically seen in mammals, methylation is sparse and is constrained primarily to exons. This methylation profile is more similar to that of the social hymenopteran species, the honey bee (Apis mellifera). In presenting the Nasonia methylome, we hope to promote future investigation of the regulatory function of DNA methylation in both social and nonsocial hymenoptera.
Project description:Changes in gene regulation that underlie phenotypic evolution can be encoded directly in the DNA sequence or mediated by chromatin modifications such as DNA methylation. It has been hypothesized that the evolution of eusocial division of labor is associated with enhanced gene regulatory potential, which may include expansions in DNA methylation in the genomes of Hymenoptera (bees, ants, wasps, and sawflies). Recently, this hypothesis garnered support from analyses of a commonly used metric to estimate DNA methylation in silico, CpG content. Here, we test this hypothesis using direct, nucleotide-level measures of DNA methylation across nine species of Hymenoptera. In doing so, we generated new DNA methylomes for three species of interest, including one solitary and one facultatively eusocial halictid bee and a sawfly. We demonstrate that the strength of correlation between CpG content and DNA methylation varies widely among hymenopteran taxa, highlighting shortcomings in the utility of CpG content as a proxy for DNA methylation in comparative studies of taxa with sparse DNA methylomes. We observed strikingly high levels of DNA methylation in the sawfly relative to other investigated hymenopterans. Analyses of molecular evolution suggest the relatively distinct sawfly DNA methylome may be associated with positive selection on functional DNMT3 domains. Sawflies are an outgroup to all ants, bees, and wasps, and no sawfly species are eusocial. We find no evidence that either global expansions or variation within individual ortholog groups in DNA methylation are consistently associated with the evolution of social behavior.
Project description:We report here genome sequences and comparative analyses of three closely related parasitoid wasps: Nasonia vitripennis, N. giraulti, and N. longicornis. Parasitoids are important regulators of arthropod populations, including major agricultural pests and disease vectors, and Nasonia is an emerging genetic model, particularly for evolutionary and developmental genetics. Key findings include the identification of a functional DNA methylation tool kit; hymenopteran-specific genes including diverse venoms; lateral gene transfers among Pox viruses, Wolbachia, and Nasonia; and the rapid evolution of genes involved in nuclear-mitochondrial interactions that are implicated in speciation. Newly developed genome resources advance Nasonia for genetic research, accelerate mapping and cloning of quantitative trait loci, and will ultimately provide tools and knowledge for further increasing the utility of parasitoids as pest insect-control agents.
Project description:DNA methylation plays a major role in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Although a few DNA methylation profiling studies of porcine genome which is one of the important biomedical models for human diseases have been reported, the available data are still limited. We tried to study methylation patterns of diverse pig tissues as a study of the International Swine Methylome Consortium to generate the swine reference methylome map to extensively evaluate the methylation profile of the pig genome at a single base resolution. We generated and analysed the DNA methylome profiles of five different tissues and a cell line originated from pig. On average, 39.85 and 62.1% of cytosine and guanine dinucleotides (CpGs) of CpG islands and 2 kb upstream of transcription start sites were covered, respectively. We detected a low rate (an average of 1.67%) of non-CpG methylation in the six samples except for the neocortex (2.3%). The observed global CpG methylation patterns of pigs indicated high similarity to other mammals including humans. The percentage of CpG methylation associated with gene features was similar among the tissues but not for a 3D4/2 cell line. Our results provide essential information for future studies of the porcine epigenome.
Project description:Gene expression divergence between closely related species could be attributed to both cis- and trans- DNA sequence changes during evolution, but it is unclear how the evolutionary dynamics of epigenetic marks are regulated. In eutherian mammals, biparental DNA methylation marks are erased and reset during gametogenesis, resulting in paternal or maternal imprints, which lead to genomic imprinting. Whether DNA methylation reprogramming exists in insects is not known. Wasps of the genus Nasonia are non-social parasitoids that are emerging as a model for studies of epigenetic processes in insects. In this study, we quantified allele-specific expression and methylation genome-wide in Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia giraulti and their reciprocal F1 hybrids. No parent-of-origin effect in allelic expression was found for >8,000 covered genes, suggesting a lack of genomic imprinting in adult Nasonia. As we expected, both significant cis- and trans- effects are responsible for the expression divergence between N. vitripennis and N. giraulti. Surprisingly, all 178 differentially methylated genes are also differentially methylated between the two alleles in F1 hybrid offspring, recapitulating the parental methylation status with nearly 100% fidelity, indicating the presence of strong cis-elements driving the target of gene body methylation. In addition, we discovered that total and allele-specific expression are positively correlated with allele-specific methylation in a subset of the differentially methylated genes. The 100% cis-regulation in F1 hybrids suggests the methylation machinery is conserved and DNA methylation is targeted by cis features in Nasonia. The lack of genomic imprinting and parent-of-origin differentially methylated regions in Nasonia, together with the stable inheritance of methylation status between generations, suggests either a cis-regulatory motif for methylation at the DNA level or highly stable inheritance of an epigenetic signal in Nasonia.
Project description:Many organisms monitor the annual change in day length and use this information for the timing of their seasonal response. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying photoperiodic timing are largely unknown. The wasp Nasonia vitripennis is an emerging model organism that exhibits a strong photoperiodic response: Short autumnal days experienced by females lead to the induction of developmental arrest (diapause) in their progeny, allowing winter survival of the larvae. How female Nasonia control the developmental trajectory of their offspring is unclear. Here, we took advantage of the recent discovery that DNA methylation is pervasive in Nasonia and tested its role in photoperiodism. We used reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) to profile DNA methylation in adult female wasps subjected to different photoperiods and identified substantial differential methylation at the single base level. We also show that knocking down DNA methyltransferase 1a (Dnmt1a), Dnmt3, or blocking DNA methylation pharmacologically, largely disrupts the photoperiodic diapause response of the wasps. To our knowledge, this is the first example for a role of DNA methylation in insect photoperiodic timing.
Project description:Cytosine DNA methylation is a vital epigenetic regulator of eukaryotic development. Whether this epigenetic modification occurs in Tribolium castaneum has been controversial, its distribution pattern and functions have not been established. Here, using bisulphite sequencing (BS-Seq), we confirmed the existence of DNA methylation and described the methylation profiles of the four life stages of T. castaneum. In the T. castaneum genome, both symmetrical CpG and non-CpG methylcytosines were observed. Symmetrical CpG methylation, which was catalysed by DNMT1 and occupied a small part in T. castaneum methylome, was primarily enriched in gene bodies and was positively correlated with gene expression levels. Asymmetrical non-CpG methylation, which was predominant in the methylome, was strongly concentrated in intergenic regions and introns but absent from exons. Gene body methylation was negatively correlated with gene expression levels. The distribution pattern and functions of this type of methylation were similar only to the methylome of Drosophila melanogaster, which further supports the existence of a novel methyltransferase in the two species responsible for this type of methylation. This first life-cycle methylome of T. castaneum reveals a novel and unique methylation pattern, which will contribute to the further understanding of the variety and functions of DNA methylation in eukaryotes.
Project description:Axonal myelination is essential for rapid saltatory impulse conduction in the nervous system, and malformation or destruction of myelin sheaths leads to motor and sensory disabilities. DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic modification during mammalian development, yet its role in myelination remains obscure. Here, using high-resolution methylome maps, we show that DNA methylation could play a key gene regulatory role in peripheral nerve myelination and that S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), the principal methyl donor in cytosine methylation, regulates the methylome dynamics during this process. Our studies also point to a possible role of SAMe in establishing the aberrant DNA methylation patterns in a mouse model of diabetic neuropathy, implicating SAMe in the pathogenesis of this disease. These critical observations establish a link between SAMe and DNA methylation status in a defined biological system, providing a mechanism that could direct methylation changes during cellular differentiation and in diverse pathological situations.
Project description:Cytosine DNA methylation is a critical epigenetic mechanism in the silencing of transposable elements, imprinting and regulating gene expression. However, little is known about the potential role of mC in response to heat stress. To determine and explore the functions of the dynamic DNA methylome during heat stress, we characterized single-base resolution methylome maps of Brassica rapa and assessed the dynamic changes of mC under heat stress using whole genome bisulfite sequencing. On average, the DNA methylation levels of CG, CHG and CHH are 39.3%, 15.38% and 5.24% in non-heading Chinese cabbage (NHCC), respectively. We found that the patterns of methylation are similar to other eudicot plants, but with higher CHH methylation levels. Further comparative analysis revealed varying patterns for three sequence contexts (mCG, mCHG and mCHH) under heat stress indicating context- and position-dependent methylation regulation. DNA methylation near the TSS and TES may be closely associated with methylation-dependent transcriptional silencing. Association analysis of differential methylation and differential gene expression revealed a different set of methDEGs involved at early and late stages under heat stress. The systemic characterization of the dynamic DNA methylome during heat stress will improve our understanding of the mechanism of epigenetic regulation under heat stress.
Project description:Progeny of heavily diseased plants develop transgenerational acquired resistance (TAR). In Arabidopsis, TAR can be transmitted over one stress-free generation. Although DNA methylation has been implicated in the regulation of TAR, the relationship between TAR and global DNA methylation remains unknown. Here, we characterised the methylome of TAR-expressing Arabidopsis at different generations after disease exposure. Global clustering of cytosine methylation revealed TAR-related patterns in the F3 generation, but not in the F1 generation. The majority of differentially methylated positions (DMPs) occurred at CG context in gene bodies. TAR in F3 progeny after one initial generation of disease, followed by two stress-free generations, was lower than TAR in F3 progeny after three successive generations of disease. This difference in TAR effectiveness was proportional to the intensity of differential methylation at a sub-set of cytosine positions. Comparison of TAR-related DMPs with previously characterised cytosine methylation in mutation accumulation lines revealed that ancestral disease stress preferentially acts on methylation-labile cytosine positions, but also extends to methylation-stable positions. Thus, the TAR-related impact of ancestral disease extends beyond stochastic variation in DNA methylation. Our study has shown that the Arabidopsis epigenome responds globally to disease in previous generations and we discuss its contribution to TAR.
Project description:DNA methylation plays an intricate role in the regulation of gene expression and events that compromise the integrity of the methylome may potentially contribute to disease development. DNA methylation is a reversible and regulatory modification that elicits a cascade of events leading to chromatin condensation and gene silencing. In general, normal cells are characterized by gene-specific hypomethylation and global hypermethylation, while cancer cells portray a reverse profile to this norm. The unique methylome displayed in cancer cells is induced after exposure to carcinogenic metals such as nickel, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium (VI). These metals alter the DNA methylation profile by provoking both hyper- and hypo-methylation events. The metal-stimulated deviations to the methylome are possible mechanisms for metal-induced carcinogenesis and may provide potential biomarkers for cancer detection. Development of therapies based on the cancer methylome requires further research including human studies that supply results with larger impact and higher human relevance.