Deciphering a methylome: What can we read into patterns of DNA methylation?

Kevin B. Flores, Gro Amdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The methylation of cytosines within cytosine-guanine (CG) dinucleotides is an epigenetic mark that can modify gene transcription. With the advent of high-throughput sequencing, it is possible to map methylomes, i.e. detect methylated CGs on a genome-wide scale. The methylomes sequenced to date reveal a divergence in prevalence and targeting of CG methylation between taxa, despite the conservation of the DNA methyltransferase enzymes that cause DNA methylation. Therefore, interspecific methylation usage is predicted to diverge. In various taxa, this tenet gains support from patterns of CG depletion that can be traced in DNA before methylomes are explicitly mapped. Depletion of CGs in methylated genomic regions is expected because methylated cytosines are subject to increased mutability caused by nucleotide deamination. However, the basis of diverging interspecific methylation usage is less clear. We use insights from the methylome of honeybees (Apis mellifera) to emphasize the possible importance of organismal life histories in explaining methylation usage and the accuracy of methylation prediction based on CG depletion. Interestingly, methylated genes in honeybees are more conserved across taxa than nonmethylated genes despite the divergence in utilization of methylation and the increased mutability caused by deamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3155-3163
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume214
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Fingerprint

methylation
DNA methylation
DNA Methylation
cytosine
Methylation
Cytosine
DNA
guanine
Guanine
deamination
Deamination
honeybee
honey bees
gene
Genes
divergence
genes
Bees
methyltransferases
Methyltransferases

Keywords

  • CG methylation
  • DNA sequencing
  • Epigenetics
  • Genome analysis
  • Honeybee genome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Insect Science
  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Deciphering a methylome : What can we read into patterns of DNA methylation? / Flores, Kevin B.; Amdam, Gro.

In: Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 214, No. 19, 10.2011, p. 3155-3163.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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