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      Spontaneous epigenetic variation in the Arabidopsis thaliana methylome.

      Nature

      Polymorphism, Genetic, Alleles, Phenotype, genetics, Genome, Plant, Genetic Variation, Gene Expression Regulation, Epigenomics, Epigenesis, Genetic, DNA Methylation, metabolism, Cytosine, Biological Evolution, Arabidopsis

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          Abstract

          Heritable epigenetic polymorphisms, such as differential cytosine methylation, can underlie phenotypic variation. Moreover, wild strains of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana differ in many epialleles, and these can influence the expression of nearby genes. However, to understand their role in evolution, it is imperative to ascertain the emergence rate and stability of epialleles, including those that are not due to structural variation. We have compared genome-wide DNA methylation among 10 A. thaliana lines, derived 30 generations ago from a common ancestor. Epimutations at individual positions were easily detected, and close to 30,000 cytosines in each strain were differentially methylated. In contrast, larger regions of contiguous methylation were much more stable, and the frequency of changes was in the same low range as that of DNA mutations. Like individual positions, the same regions were often affected by differential methylation in independent lines, with evidence for recurrent cycles of forward and reverse mutations. Transposable elements and short interfering RNAs have been causally linked to DNA methylation. In agreement, differentially methylated sites were farther from transposable elements and showed less association with short interfering RNA expression than invariant positions. The biased distribution and frequent reversion of epimutations have important implications for the potential contribution of sequence-independent epialleles to plant evolution.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Shotgun bisulphite sequencing of the Arabidopsis genome reveals DNA methylation patterning.

          Cytosine DNA methylation is important in regulating gene expression and in silencing transposons and other repetitive sequences. Recent genomic studies in Arabidopsis thaliana have revealed that many endogenous genes are methylated either within their promoters or within their transcribed regions, and that gene methylation is highly correlated with transcription levels. However, plants have different types of methylation controlled by different genetic pathways, and detailed information on the methylation status of each cytosine in any given genome is lacking. To this end, we generated a map at single-base-pair resolution of methylated cytosines for Arabidopsis, by combining bisulphite treatment of genomic DNA with ultra-high-throughput sequencing using the Illumina 1G Genome Analyser and Solexa sequencing technology. This approach, termed BS-Seq, unlike previous microarray-based methods, allows one to sensitively measure cytosine methylation on a genome-wide scale within specific sequence contexts. Here we describe methylation on previously inaccessible components of the genome and analyse the DNA methylation sequence composition and distribution. We also describe the effect of various DNA methylation mutants on genome-wide methylation patterns, and demonstrate that our newly developed library construction and computational methods can be applied to large genomes such as that of mouse.
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            Genome-wide analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana DNA methylation uncovers an interdependence between methylation and transcription.

            Cytosine methylation, a common form of DNA modification that antagonizes transcription, is found at transposons and repeats in vertebrates, plants and fungi. Here we have mapped DNA methylation in the entire Arabidopsis thaliana genome at high resolution. DNA methylation covers transposons and is present within a large fraction of A. thaliana genes. Methylation within genes is conspicuously biased away from gene ends, suggesting a dependence on RNA polymerase transit. Genic methylation is strongly influenced by transcription: moderately transcribed genes are most likely to be methylated, whereas genes at either extreme are least likely. In turn, transcription is influenced by methylation: short methylated genes are poorly expressed, and loss of methylation in the body of a gene leads to enhanced transcription. Our results indicate that genic transcription and DNA methylation are closely interwoven processes.
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              The rate and molecular spectrum of spontaneous mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana.

              To take complete advantage of information on within-species polymorphism and divergence from close relatives, one needs to know the rate and the molecular spectrum of spontaneous mutations. To this end, we have searched for de novo spontaneous mutations in the complete nuclear genomes of five Arabidopsis thaliana mutation accumulation lines that had been maintained by single-seed descent for 30 generations. We identified and validated 99 base substitutions and 17 small and large insertions and deletions. Our results imply a spontaneous mutation rate of 7 x 10(-9) base substitutions per site per generation, the majority of which are G:C-->A:T transitions. We explain this very biased spectrum of base substitution mutations as a result of two main processes: deamination of methylated cytosines and ultraviolet light-induced mutagenesis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                22057020
                10.1038/nature10555

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