Dnmt1 has an essential function despite the absence of CpG DNA methylation in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum

Epigenetic mechanisms, such as CpG DNA methylation enable phenotypic plasticity and rapid adaptation to changing environments. CpG DNA methylation is established by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), which are well conserved across vertebrates and invertebrates. There are insects with functional DNA me...

Authors: Schulz, Nora Kristin Elisa
Wagner, Clara Isabel
Ebeling, Julia
Raddatz, Günter
Diddens-de Buhr, Maike F.
Lyko, Frank
Kurtz, Joachim
Division/Institute:FB 13: Biologie
Document types:Article
Media types:Text
Publication date:2018
Date of publication on miami:28.05.2019
Modification date:28.05.2019
Edition statement:[Electronic ed.]
Source:Scientific Reports 8 (2018) 16462, 1-10
DDC Subject:570: Biowissenschaften; Biologie
License:CC BY 4.0
Language:English
Funding:Finanziert durch den Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2018 der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) und der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU Münster).
Format:PDF document
URN:urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-64189503169
Permalink:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:hbz:6-64189503169
Other Identifiers:DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-34701-3
Digital documents:artikel_kurtz_2018.pdf

Epigenetic mechanisms, such as CpG DNA methylation enable phenotypic plasticity and rapid adaptation to changing environments. CpG DNA methylation is established by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), which are well conserved across vertebrates and invertebrates. There are insects with functional DNA methylation despite lacking a complete set of Dnmts. But at least one of the enzymes, DNMT1, appears to be required to maintain an active DNA methylation system. The red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, lacks Dnmt3 but possesses Dnmt1 and it has been controversial whether it has a functional DNA methylation system. Using whole genome bisulfite sequencing, we did not find any defined patterns of CpG DNA methylation in embryos. Nevertheless, we found Dnmt1 expressed throughout the entire life cycle of the beetle, with mRNA transcripts significantly more abundant in eggs and ovaries. A maternal knockdown of Dnmt1 caused a developmental arrest in offspring embryos. We show that Dnmt1 plays an essential role in T. castaneum embryos and that its downregulation leads to an early developmental arrest. This function appears to be unrelated to DNA methylation, since we did not find any evidence for this modification. This strongly suggests an alternative role of this protein.