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Mol Genet Genomics. 2006 Jan;275(1):18-25. Epub 2005 Nov 9.

Segmental distribution of genes harboring a CpG island-like region on rice chromosomes.

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National Institute of Crop Science, Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8518, Japan.


In plant genomes, there exist discrete regions rich in CpG dinucleotides, namely CpG clusters. In rice, most of these CpG clusters are associated with genes. Rice genes are grouped into one of the five classes according to the position of an associated CpG cluster. Among them, class 1 genes, which harbor a CpG cluster at the 5'-terminus, share similarities with human genes having CpG islands. In the present study, by analyzing plant genome sequence data, primarily from rice, we investigated the chromosomal distribution of genes of each class, mainly class 1 genes. Class 1 genes were not uniformly distributed across the rice genome, but were clustered into discrete chromosomal segments. EST-based analysis of the distribution of expressed genes indicates that this segmental distribution of class 1 genes caused a preferential distribution of expressed genes within class 1 gene-rich segments. We then compared the methylation status of genes of each class to examine the possibility that differential DNA methylation, if any, is relevant to the observed differential expression level of genes inside and outside the class 1 segments. The difference in the methylation level between these genes was revealed to be fairly small, which does not support the above-mentioned possibility.

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