Regulation and function of dna methylation in plants and animals pdf

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DNA methylation is one of the best characterized epigenetic modifications. In mammals it is involved in various biological processes including the silencing of transposable elements, regulation of gene expression, genomic imprinting, and X-chromosome inactivation. Its role in the regulation of gene expression, through its interplay with histone modifications, is also described, and its implication in human diseases discussed. The exciting areas of investigation that will likely become the focus of research in the coming years are outlined in the summary. CpG is an abbreviation for cytosine and guanine separated by a phosphate, which links the two nucleotides together in DNA.

DNA methylation — an essential mechanism in plant molecular biology

Methylation can change the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequence. When located in a gene promoter , DNA methylation typically acts to repress gene transcription. In mammals, DNA methylation is essential for normal development and is associated with a number of key processes including genomic imprinting , X-chromosome inactivation , repression of transposable elements , aging , and carcinogenesis.

Two of DNA's four bases, cytosine and adenine , can be methylated. Methylation of cytosine to form 5-methylcytosine occurs at the same 5 position on the pyrimidine ring where the DNA base thymine 's methyl group is located; the same position distinguishes thymine from the analogous RNA base uracil , which has no methyl group.

Spontaneous deamination of 5-methylcytosine converts it to thymine. This results in a T:G mismatch. Repair mechanisms then correct it back to the original C:G pair; alternatively, they may substitute A for G, turning the original C:G pair into a T:A pair, effectively changing a base and introducing a mutation.

If the mismatch is not repaired and the cell enters the cell cycle the strand carrying the T will be complemented by an A in one of the daughter cells, such that the mutation becomes permanent. The near-universal use of thymine exclusively in DNA and uracil exclusively in RNA may have evolved as an error-control mechanism, to facilitate the removal of uracils generated by the spontaneous deamination of cytosine.

In mammals however, DNA methylation is almost exclusively found in CpG dinucleotides, with the cytosines on both strands being usually methylated. Non-CpG methylation can however be observed in embryonic stem cells , [10] [11] [12] and has also been indicated in neural development. The DNA methylation landscape of vertebrates is very particular compared to other organisms.

High CpG methylation in mammalian genomes has an evolutionary cost because it increases the frequency of spontaneous mutations. Loss of amino-groups occurs with a high frequency for cytosines, with different consequences depending on their methylation. In mammals, the only exception for this global CpG depletion resides in a specific category of GC- and CpG-rich sequences termed CpG islands that are generally unmethylated and therefore retained the expected CpG content.

DNA methylation was probably present at some extent in very early eukaryote ancestors. In virtually every organism analyzed, methylation in promoter regions correlates negatively with gene expression. DNA methylation may affect the transcription of genes in two ways.

First, the methylation of DNA itself may physically impede the binding of transcriptional proteins to the gene, [28] and second, and likely more important, methylated DNA may be bound by proteins known as methyl-CpG-binding domain proteins MBDs. MBD proteins then recruit additional proteins to the locus, such as histone deacetylases and other chromatin remodeling proteins that can modify histones , thereby forming compact, inactive chromatin, termed heterochromatin.

This link between DNA methylation and chromatin structure is very important. In particular, loss of methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 MeCP2 has been implicated in Rett syndrome ; and methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 2 MBD2 mediates the transcriptional silencing of hypermethylated genes in "cancer".

DNA methylation is a powerful transcriptional repressor, at least in CpG dense contexts. Transcriptional repression of protein-coding genes appears essentially limited to very specific classes of genes that need to be silent permanently and in almost all tissues. While DNA methylation does not have the flexibility required for the fine-tuning of gene regulation, its stability is perfect to ensure the permanent silencing of transposable elements.

DNA methylation of transposable elements has been known to be related to genome expansion. However, the evolutionary driver for genome expansion remains unknown. There is a clear correlation between the size of the genome and CpG, suggesting that the DNA methylation of transposable elements led to a noticeable increase in the mass of DNA.

A function that appears even more conserved than transposon silencing is positively correlated with gene expression. In almost all species where DNA methylation is present, DNA methylation is especially enriched in the body of highly transcribed genes. A body of evidence suggests that it could regulate splicing [33] and suppress the activity of intragenic transcriptional units cryptic promoters or transposable elements. In yeast and mammals, H3K36 methylation is highly enriched in the body of highly transcribed genes.

In yeast at least, H3K36me3 recruits enzymes such as histone deacetylases to condense chromatin and prevent the activation of cryptic start sites. DNA methylation patterns are largely erased and then re-established between generations in mammals. Almost all of the methylations from the parents are erased, first during gametogenesis , and again in early embryogenesis , with demethylation and remethylation occurring each time.

Demethylation in early embryogenesis occurs in the preimplantation period in two stages — initially in the zygote , then during the first few embryonic replication cycles of morula and blastula. A wave of methylation then takes place during the implantation stage of the embryo, with CpG islands protected from methylation. This results in global repression and allows housekeeping genes to be expressed in all cells. In the post-implantation stage, methylation patterns are stage- and tissue-specific, with changes that would define each individual cell type lasting stably over a long period.

In particular, DNA methylation appears critical for the maintenance of mono-allelic silencing in the context of genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation. During embryonic development, few genes change their methylation status, at the important exception of many genes specifically expressed in the germline.

By contrast, DNA methylation is dispensable in undifferentiated cell types, such as the inner cell mass of the blastocyst, primordial germ cells or embryonic stem cells. Since DNA methylation appears to directly regulate only a limited number of genes, how precisely DNA methylation absence causes the death of differentiated cells remain an open question.

Due to the phenomenon of genomic imprinting , maternal and paternal genomes are differentially marked and must be properly reprogrammed every time they pass through the germline. Therefore, during gametogenesis , primordial germ cells must have their original biparental DNA methylation patterns erased and re-established based on the sex of the transmitting parent. After fertilization, the paternal and maternal genomes are once again demethylated and remethylated except for differentially methylated regions associated with imprinted genes.

This reprogramming is likely required for totipotency of the newly formed embryo and erasure of acquired epigenetic changes. In many disease processes, such as cancer , gene promoter CpG islands acquire abnormal hypermethylation, which results in transcriptional silencing that can be inherited by daughter cells following cell division. Hypomethylation, in general, arises earlier and is linked to chromosomal instability and loss of imprinting, whereas hypermethylation is associated with promoters and can arise secondary to gene oncogene suppressor silencing, but might be a target for epigenetic therapy.

Global hypomethylation has also been implicated in the development and progression of cancer through different mechanisms. Generally, in progression to cancer, hundreds of genes are silenced or activated. Although silencing of some genes in cancers occurs by mutation, a large proportion of carcinogenic gene silencing is a result of altered DNA methylation see DNA methylation in cancer. DNA methylation causing silencing in cancer typically occurs at multiple CpG sites in the CpG islands that are present in the promoters of protein coding genes.

Altered expressions of microRNAs also silence or activate many genes in progression to cancer see microRNAs in cancer. Silencing of DNA repair genes through methylation of CpG islands in their promoters appears to be especially important in progression to cancer see methylation of DNA repair genes in cancer.

Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation have been implicated in cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis. In animal models of atherosclerosis, vascular tissue, as well as blood cells such as mononuclear blood cells, exhibit global hypomethylation with gene-specific areas of hypermethylation. DNA methylation polymorphisms may be used as an early biomarker of atherosclerosis since they are present before lesions are observed, which may provide an early tool for detection and risk prevention.

Two of the cell types targeted for DNA methylation polymorphisms are monocytes and lymphocytes, which experience an overall hypomethylation. One proposed mechanism behind this global hypomethylation is elevated homocysteine levels causing hyperhomocysteinemia , a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. High plasma levels of homocysteine inhibit DNA methyltransferases, which causes hypomethylation.

Hypomethylation of DNA affects genes that alter smooth muscle cell proliferation, cause endothelial cell dysfunction, and increase inflammatory mediators, all of which are critical in forming atherosclerotic lesions.

Another gene that experiences a change in methylation status in atherosclerosis is the monocarboxylate transporter MCT3 , which produces a protein responsible for the transport of lactate and other ketone bodies out of many cell types, including vascular smooth muscle cells. In atherosclerosis patients, there is an increase in methylation of the CpG islands in exon 2, which decreases MCT3 protein expression. The downregulation of MCT3 impairs lactate transport and significantly increases smooth muscle cell proliferation, which further contributes to the atherosclerotic lesion.

An ex vivo experiment using the demethylating agent Decitabine 5-aza-2 -deoxycytidine was shown to induce MCT3 expression in a dose dependent manner, as all hypermethylated sites in the exon 2 CpG island became demethylated after treatment.

This may serve as a novel therapeutic agent to treat atherosclerosis, although no human studies have been conducted thus far. In humans and other mammals, DNA methylation levels can be used to accurately estimate the age of tissues and cell types, forming an accurate epigenetic clock.

A longitudinal study of twin children showed that, between the ages of 5 and 10, there was divergence of methylation patterns due to environmental rather than genetic influences. High intensity exercise has been shown to result in reduced DNA methylation in skeletal muscle. A study that investigated the methylome of B cells along their differentiation cycle, using whole-genome bisulfite sequencing WGBS , showed that there is a hypomethylation from the earliest stages to the most differentiated stages.

The largest methylation difference is between the stages of germinal center B cells and memory B cells. Furthermore, this study showed that there is a similarity between B cell tumors and long-lived B cells in their DNA methylation signatures. Two reviews summarize evidence that DNA methylation alterations in brain neurons are important in learning and memory.

Twenty four hours after contextual fear conditioning, 9. The hippocampus is needed to form memories, but memories are not stored there.

For such mice, at four weeks after contextual fear conditioning, substantial differential CpG methylations and demethylations occurred in cortical neurons during memory maintenance, and there were 1, differentially methylated genes in their anterior cingulate cortex. In mammalian cells, DNA methylation occurs mainly at the C5 position of CpG dinucleotides and is carried out by two general classes of enzymatic activities — maintenance methylation and de novo methylation.

Without the DNA methyltransferase DNMT , the replication machinery itself would produce daughter strands that are unmethylated and, over time, would lead to passive demethylation. Mouse models with both copies of DNMT1 deleted are embryonic lethal at approximately day 9, due to the requirement of DNMT1 activity for development in mammalian cells. Mice and rats have a third functional de novo methyltransferase enzyme named DNMT3C, which evolved as a paralog of Dnmt3b by tandem duplication in the common ancestral of Muroidea rodents.

DNMT3C catalyzes the methylation of promoters of transposable elements during early spermatogenesis, an activity shown to be essential for their epigenetic repression and male fertility. Since many tumor suppressor genes are silenced by DNA methylation during carcinogenesis , there have been attempts to re-express these genes by inhibiting the DNMTs. However, for decitabine to be active, it must be incorporated into the genome of the cell, which can cause mutations in the daughter cells if the cell does not die.

In addition, decitabine is toxic to the bone marrow, which limits the size of its therapeutic window. However, it is currently unclear whether targeting DNMT1 alone is sufficient to reactivate tumor suppressor genes silenced by DNA methylation. Significant progress has been made in understanding DNA methylation in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

There are currently two classes of DNA methyltransferases: 1 the de novo class or enzymes that create new methylation marks on the DNA; 2 a maintenance class that recognizes the methylation marks on the parental strand of DNA and transfers new methylation to the daughter strands after DNA replication.

By methylating their genomic locations, through an as yet poorly understood mechanism, they are shut off and are no longer active in the cell, protecting the genome from their mutagenic effect. Recently, it was described that methylation of the DNA is the main determinant of embryogenic cultures formation from explants in woody plants and is regarded the main mechanism that explains the poor response of mature explants to somatic embryogenesis in the plants Isah DNA methylation levels in Drosophila melanogaster are nearly undetectable.

Genomic methylation in D. Further, highly sensitive mass spectrometry approaches, [76] have now demonstrated the presence of low 0. Many fungi have low levels 0. Although brewers' yeast Saccharomyces , fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces , and Aspergillus flavus [79] have no detectable DNA methylation, the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa has a well-characterized methylation system.

The ability to evaluate other important phenomena in a DNA methylase-deficient genetic background makes Neurospora an important system in which to study DNA methylation. DNA methylation is largely absent from Dictyostelium discoidium [81] where it appears to occur at about 0. Adenine or cytosine methylation is part of the restriction modification system of many bacteria , in which specific DNA sequences are methylated periodically throughout the genome.

DNA Methylation and the Evolution of Developmental Complexity in Plants

PLOS Genetics 11 7 : e Active DNA demethylation plays crucial roles in the regulation of gene expression in both plants and animals. However, the mechanism s by which IDM1 is targeted to specific genomic loci remains to be determined. MBD7 dysfunction causes DNA hypermethylation and silencing of reporter genes and a subset of endogenous genes. Our results suggest that a histone acetyltransferase complex functions in active DNA demethylation and in suppression of gene silencing at some loci in Arabidopsis. DNA cytosine methylation 5-methylcytosine, 5-meC plays important roles in genome organization, genomic imprinting, transposon silencing and gene expression.

DNA methylation is a key epigenetic modification in the vertebrate genomes known to be involved in biological processes such as regulation of gene expression, DNA structure and control of transposable elements. Despite increasing knowledge about DNA methylation, we still lack a complete understanding of its specific functions and correlation with environment and gene expression in diverse organisms. To understand how global DNA methylation levels changed under environmental influence during vertebrate evolution, we analyzed its distribution pattern along the whole genome in mammals, reptiles and fishes showing that it is correlated with temperature, independently on phylogenetic inheritance. Other studies in mammals and plants have evidenced that environmental stimuli can promote epigenetic changes that, in turn, might generate localized changes in DNA sequence resulting in phenotypic effects. All these observations suggest that environment can affect the epigenome of vertebrates by generating hugely different methylation patterns that could, possibly, reflect in phenotypic differences. We are at the first steps towards the understanding of mechanisms that underlie the role of environment in molding the entire genome over evolutionary times.

The prima donna of epigenetics: the regulation of gene expression by DNA methylation. Santos, T. Mazzola and H. This review focuses on the mechanisms of DNA methylation, DNA methylation pattern formation and their involvement in gene regulation. Association of DNA methylation with imprinting, embryonic development and human diseases is discussed. Furthermore, besides considering changes in DNA methylation as mechanisms of disease, the role of epigenetics in general and DNA methylation in particular in transgenerational carcinogenesis, in memory formation and behavior establishment are brought about as mechanisms based on the cellular memory of gene expression patterns. Key words: Epigenetics, DNA methylation, Inheritable changes in gene expression, Transgenerational carcinogenesis, Environmental influence on memory formation.

DNA Methylation, Epigenetics, and Evolution in Vertebrates: Facts and Challenges

Methylation can change the activity of a DNA segment without changing the sequence. When located in a gene promoter , DNA methylation typically acts to repress gene transcription. In mammals, DNA methylation is essential for normal development and is associated with a number of key processes including genomic imprinting , X-chromosome inactivation , repression of transposable elements , aging , and carcinogenesis.

Plants’ Epigenetic Secrets

DNA methylation therefore appears to have been co-opted in evolution from an original function in TE management to a developmental function gene regulation in both phenotypic plasticity and in normal development.


  • Thank you for visiting nature. Elisandro N. - 18.05.2021 at 10:34
  • In animals, multiple mechanisms of active DNA demethylation have been proposed, including a deaminase- and DNA glycosylase-initiated BER. TГ­quico A. - 21.05.2021 at 07:06
  • The function of DNA methylation in plants and animals is also discussed in this review. Download PDF. Introduction. DNA methylation refers. Carolos B. - 22.05.2021 at 05:29
  • utes to the epigenetic regulation of nuclear gene expres- cuss the important roles of DNA methylation dynamics of DNA methylation in plants and animals. Arelmotol - 23.05.2021 at 10:06
  • DNA methylation status is dynamically regulated by DNA methylation and The function of DNA methylation in plants and animals is also discussed in this. Querima S. - 24.05.2021 at 15:38