Salt stress and salt shock differently affect DNA methylation in salt-responsive genes in sugar beet and its wild, halophytic ancestor.


Here we determined the impact of salt shock and salt stress on the level of DNA methylation in selected CpG islands localized in promoters or first exons of sixteen salt-responsive genes in beets. Two subspecies differing in salt tolerance were subjected for analysis, a moderately salt-tolerant sugar beet Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris cv. Huzar and a halophytic beet, Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima. The CpG island methylation status was determined. All target sequences were hyper- or hypomethylated under salt shock and/or salt stress in one or both beet subspecies. It was revealed that the genomic regions analyzed were highly methylated in both, the salt treated plants and untreated controls. Methylation of the target sequences changed in a salt-dependent manner, being affected by either one or both treatments. Under both shock and stress, the hypomethylation was a predominant response in sugar beet. In Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima, the hypermethylation occurred with higher frequency than hypomethylation, especially under salt stress and in the promoter-located CpG sites. Conversely, the hypomethylation of the promoter-located CpG sites predominated in sugar beet plants subjected to salt stress. This findings suggest that DNA methylation may be involved in salt-tolerance and transcriptomic response to salinity in beets

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