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Nat Commun. 2018 Apr 9;9(1):1341. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03724-9.

Recurrent acquisition of cytosine methyltransferases into eukaryotic retrotransposons.

Author information

1
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, School of Molecular Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, 6009, Australia. alex.demendoza@uwa.edu.au.
2
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Perth, WA, 6009, Australia. alex.demendoza@uwa.edu.au.
3
Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, INSERM U944, CNRS UMR 7212, Institut Universitaire d'Hématologie, Hôpital St. Louis, 75010, Paris, France.
4
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, School of Molecular Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, 6009, Australia.
5
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Perth, WA, 6009, Australia.
6
State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science and College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, 361102, Xiamen, China.
7
School of Life Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama City, Kanagawa, 226-8501, Japan.
8
School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Gold Coast, QLD, 4072, Australia.
9
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD, 4225, Australia.
10
Institute of Systems Genomics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA.
11
Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT, 06340, USA.
12
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, School of Molecular Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, 6009, Australia. ryan.lister@uwa.edu.au.
13
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Perth, WA, 6009, Australia. ryan.lister@uwa.edu.au.

Abstract

Transposable elements are in a constant arms race with the silencing mechanisms of their host genomes. One silencing mechanism commonly used by many eukaryotes is dependent on cytosine methylation, a covalent modification of DNA deposited by C5 cytosine methyltransferases (DNMTs). Here, we report how two distantly related eukaryotic lineages, dinoflagellates and charophytes, have independently incorporated DNMTs into the coding regions of distinct retrotransposon classes. Concomitantly, we show that dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium have evolved cytosine methylation patterns unlike any other eukaryote, with most of the genome methylated at CG dinucleotides. Finally, we demonstrate the ability of retrotransposon DNMTs to methylate CGs de novo, suggesting that retrotransposons could self-methylate retrotranscribed DNA. Together, this is an example of how retrotransposons incorporate host-derived genes involved in DNA methylation. In some cases, this event could have implications for the composition and regulation of the host epigenomic environment.

PMID:
29632298
PMCID:
PMC5890265
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-03724-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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