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Rate, spectrum, and evolutionary dynamics of spontaneous epimutations

van der Graaf, A., Wardenaar, R., Neumann, D. A., Taudt, A., Shaw, R. G., Jansen, R. C., Schmitz, R. J., Colome-Tatche, M. & Johannes, F., 26-May-2015, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112, 21, p. 6676-6681 6 p.

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  • Rate, spectrum, and evolutionary dynamics of spontaneous epimutations

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DOI

  • Adriaan van der Graaf
  • Renee Wardenaar
  • Drexel A. Neumann
  • Aaron Taudt
  • Ruth G. Shaw
  • Ritsert C. Jansen
  • Robert J. Schmitz
  • Maria Colome-Tatche
  • Frank Johannes

Stochastic changes in cytosine methylation are a source of heritable epigenetic and phenotypic diversity in plants. Using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, we derive robust estimates of the rate at which methylation is spontaneously gained (forward epimutation) or lost (backward epimutation) at individual cytosines and construct a comprehensive picture of the epimutation landscape in this species. We demonstrate that the dynamic interplay between forward and backward epimutations is modulated by genomic context and show that subtle contextual differences have profoundly shaped patterns of methylation diversity in A. thaliana natural populations over evolutionary timescales. Theoretical arguments indicate that the epimutation rates reported here are high enough to rapidly uncouple genetic from epigenetic variation, but low enough for new epialleles to sustain long-term selection responses. Our results provide new insights into methylome evolution and its population-level consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6676-6681
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 26-May-2015

    Keywords

  • epigenetics, epimutation, DNA methylation, evolution, Arabidopsis, ARABIDOPSIS-THALIANA, DNA METHYLATION, EPIGENETIC VARIATION, PLANT EVOLUTION, INHERITANCE, HETEROCHROMATIN, EPIALLELES, MUTATIONS, EPIGENOME, SELECTION

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