Phytophthora methylomes modulated by expanded 6mA methyltransferases are associated with adaptive genome regions
Sylvans Ochieng Ochola,
Posted 11 Nov 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/217646 (published DOI: 10.1186/s13059-018-1564-4)
Posted 11 Nov 2017
Filamentous plant pathogen genomes often display a bipartite architecture with gene sparse, repeat-rich compartments serving as a cradle for adaptive evolution. However, the extent to which this "two-speed" genome architecture is associated with genome-wide epigenetic modifications is unknown. Here, we show that the oomycete plant pathogens Phytophthora infestans and Phytophthora sojae possess functional adenine N6-methylation (6mA) methyltransferases that modulate patterns of 6mA marks across the genome. In contrast, 5-methylcytosine (5mC) could not be detected in the two Phytophthora species. Methylated DNA IP Sequencing (MeDIP-seq) of each species revealed that 6mA is depleted around the transcriptional starting sites (TSS) and is associated with low expressed genes, particularly transposable elements. Remarkably, genes occupying the gene-sparse regions have higher levels of 6mA compared to the remainder of both genomes, possibly implicating the methylome in adaptive evolution of Phytophthora. Among three putative adenine methyltransferases, DAMT1 and DAMT3 displayed robust enzymatic activities. Surprisingly, single knockouts of each of the 6mA methyltransferases in P. sojae significantly reduced in vivo 6mA levels, indicating that the three enzymes are not fully redundant. MeDIP-seq of the damt3 mutant revealed uneven patterns of 6mA methylation across genes, suggesting that PsDAMT3 may have a preference for gene body methylation after the TSS. Our findings provide evidence that 6mA modification is an epigenetic mark of Phytophthora genomes and that complex patterns of 6mA methylation by the expanded 6mA methyltransferases may be associated with adaptive evolution in these important plant pathogens.
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