The evolution of CHROMOMETHYLASES and gene body DNA methylation in plants

Genome Biology
Adam J BewickRobert J Schmitz


The evolution of gene body methylation (gbM), its origins, and its functional consequences are poorly understood. By pairing the largest collection of transcriptomes (>1000) and methylomes (77) across Viridiplantae, we provide novel insights into the evolution of gbM and its relationship to CHROMOMETHYLASE (CMT) proteins. CMTs are evolutionary conserved DNA methyltransferases in Viridiplantae. Duplication events gave rise to what are now referred to as CMT1, 2 and 3. Independent losses of CMT1, 2, and 3 in eudicots, CMT2 and ZMET in monocots and monocots/commelinids, variation in copy number, and non-neutral evolution suggests overlapping or fluid functional evolution of this gene family. DNA methylation within genes is widespread and is found in all major taxonomic groups of Viridiplantae investigated. Genes enriched with methylated CGs (mCG) were also identified in species sister to angiosperms. The proportion of genes and DNA methylation patterns associated with gbM are restricted to angiosperms with a functional CMT3 or ortholog. However, mCG-enriched genes in the gymnosperm Pinus taeda shared some similarities with gbM genes in Amborella trichopoda. Additionally, gymnosperms and ferns share a CMT homolog closely related to...Continue Reading


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DNA Methylation [PE]
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