Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Changes in DNA Methylation in Response to 6-Benzylaminopurine Affect Allele-Specific Gene Expression in Populus tomentosa

Version 1 : Received: 2 February 2020 / Approved: 4 February 2020 / Online: 4 February 2020 (05:22:28 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Xuan, A.; Song, Y.; Bu, C.; Chen, P.; El-Kassaby, Y.A.; Zhang, D. Changes in DNA Methylation in Response to 6-Benzylaminopurine Affect Allele-Specific Gene Expression in Populus Tomentosa. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 2117. Xuan, A.; Song, Y.; Bu, C.; Chen, P.; El-Kassaby, Y.A.; Zhang, D. Changes in DNA Methylation in Response to 6-Benzylaminopurine Affect Allele-Specific Gene Expression in Populus Tomentosa. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 2117.

Journal reference: Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 2117
DOI: 10.3390/ijms21062117

Abstract

The cytokinins play important roles in plant growth and development by regulating gene expression at genome wide level. DNA methylation is responsive to the external environment, but whether DNA methylation changes in response to cytokinin treatment to regulate gene expression is still unclear. Here, we used bisulfite sequencing and RNA sequencing to examine genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression patterns in poplar (Populus tomentosa) after treatment with the synthetic cytokinin 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA). We identified 566 significantly differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in response to 6-BA treatment. Transcriptome analysis showed that 501 protein-coding genes, 262 long non-coding RNAs, and 15,793 24-nt small interfering RNAs were differentially expressed under 6-BA treatment. Among these, 79% were differentially expressed between alleles in P. tomentosa. Combined DNA methylation and gene expression analysis demonstrated that DNA methylation plays an important role in regulating allele-specific gene expression. To further investigate the relationship between these 6-BA-responsive genes and phenotypic variation, we performed SNP analysis of 507 6-BA-responsive DMRs via re-sequencing using a natural population of P. tomentosa and identified 206 SNPs that were significantly associated with growth and wood properties. Association analysis indicated that 53% of loci with allele-specific expression had primarily dominant effects on poplar traits. Our comprehensive analyses of P. tomentosa DNA methylation and the regulation of allele-specific gene expression suggest that DNA methylation is an important regulator of imbalanced expression between allelic loci.

Subject Areas

allele specific expression; 6-BA; DNA methylation; long noncoding RNA; siRNA; poplar

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