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Divergent DNA Methylation Signatures of Juvenile Seedlings, Grafts and Adult Apple Trees

Abstract : The vast majority of previous studies on epigenetics in plants have centered on the study of inheritance of DNA methylation patterns in annual plants. In contrast, perennial plants may have the ability to accumulate changes in DNA methylation patterns over numerous years. However, currently little is known about long-lived perennial and clonally reproducing plants that may have evolved different DNA methylation inheritance mechanisms as compared to annual plants. To study the transmission of DNA methylation patterns in a perennial plant, we used apple (Malus domestica) as a model plant. First, we investigated the inheritance of DNA methylation patterns during sexual reproduction in apple by comparing DNA methylation patterns of mature trees to juvenile seedlings resulting from selfing. While we did not observe a drastic genome-wide change in DNA methylation levels, we found clear variations in DNA methylation patterns localized in regions enriched for genes involved in photosynthesis. Using transcriptomics, we also observed that genes involved in this pathway were overexpressed in seedlings. To assess how DNA methylation patterns are transmitted during clonal propagation we then compared global DNA methylation of a newly grafted tree to its mature donor tree. We identified significant, albeit weak DNA methylation changes resulting from grafting. Overall, we found that a majority of DNA methylation patterns from the mature donor tree are transmitted to newly grafted plants, however with detectable specific local differences. Both the epigenomic and transcriptomic data indicate that grafted plants are at an intermediate phase between an adult tree and seedling and inherit part of the epigenomic history of their donor tree.
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Contributor : Olivier Dupre <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 8, 2021 - 5:36:38 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 3:30:05 AM

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Adrien Perrin, Nicolas Daccord, David Roquis, Jean-Marc Celton, Emilie Vergne, et al.. Divergent DNA Methylation Signatures of Juvenile Seedlings, Grafts and Adult Apple Trees. Epigenomes, MDPI, 2020, 4 (1), pp.4. ⟨10.3390/epigenomes4010004⟩. ⟨hal-03135120⟩



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