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.
Liu, G., Xia, Y., Liu, T., Dai, S., & Hou, X. (2018). The DNA methylome and association of differentially methylated regions with differential gene expression during heat stress in brassica rapa. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19051414