BACKGROUND: DNA methylation is an important mechanism of epigenetic gene expression control that can be passed between generations. Here, we use sodium bisulfite treatment and targeted gene enrichment to study genome-wide methylation across the three sub-genomes of allohexaploid wheat.
RESULTS: While the majority of methylation is conserved across all three genomes we demonstrate that differential methylation exists between the sub-genomes in approximately equal proportions. We correlate sub-genome-specific promoter methylation with decreased expression levels and show that altered growing temperature has a small effect on methylation state, identifying a small but functionally relevant set of methylated genes. Finally, we demonstrate long-term methylation maintenance using a comparison between the D sub-genome of hexaploid wheat and its progenitor Aegilops tauschii.
CONCLUSIONS: We show that tri-genome methylation is highly conserved with the diploid wheat progenitor while sub-genome-specific methylation shows more variation.
- DNA Methylation
- DNA Transposable Elements
- Gene Expression
- Genome, Plant
- Promoter Regions, Genetic
- Stress, Physiological/genetics