Phylogeny, expression patterns and regulation of DNA Methyltransferases in early development of the flatfish, Solea senegalensis


Background: The identification of DNA methyltransferases (Dnmt) expression patterns during development and their regulation is important to understand the epigenetic mechanisms that modulate larval plasticity in marine fish. In this study, dnmt1 and dnmt3 paralogs were identified in the flatfish Solea senegalensis and expression patterns in early developmental stages and juveniles were determined. Additionally, the regulation of Dnmt transcription by a specific inhibitor (5-aza-2 '-deoxycytidine) and temperature was evaluated. Results: Five paralog genes of dnmt3, namely dnmt3aa, dnmt3ab, dnmt3ba, dnmt3bb. 1 and dnmt3bb. 2 and one gene for dnmt1 were identified. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the dnmt gene family was highly conserved in teleosts and three fish-specific genes, dnmt3aa, dnmt3ba and dnmt3bb. 2 have evolved. The spatio-temporal expression patterns of four dnmts (dnmt1, dnmt3aa, dnmt3ab and dnmt3bb. 1) were different in early larval stages although all of them reduced expression with the age and were detected in neural organs and dnmt3aa appeared specific to somites. In juveniles, the four dnmt genes were expressed in brain and hematopoietic tissues such as kidney, spleen and gills. Treatment of sole embryos with 5-aza-2 '-deoxycytidine down-regulated dntm1 and up-regulated dntm3aa. Moreover, in lecithotrophic larval stages, dnmt3aa and dnmt3ab were temperature sensitive and their expression was higher in larvae incubated at 16 degrees C relative to 20 degrees C. Conclusion: Five dnmt3 and one dnmt1 paralog were identified in sole and their distinct developmental and tissue-specific expression patterns indicate that they may have different roles during development. The inhibitor 5-aza-2 '-deoxycytidine modified the transcript abundance of dntm1 and dntm3aa in embryos, which suggests that a regulatory feedback mechanism exists for these genes. The impact of thermal regime on expression levels of dnmt3aa and dnmt3ab in lecithotrophic larval stages suggests that these paralogs might be involved in thermal programing.INIA and EU through FEDER [RTA2013-00023-C0201]; Algae4A-B from UE H2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Sklodowska-Curie [691102]; FCT Investigator grant [IF/01274/2014]RTA2013-00023-C020

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This paper was published in Sapientia.

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