Regulation ofHoxorthologues in the oysterCrassostrea gigasevidences a functional role for promoter DNA methylation in an invertebrate

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Abstract

DNA methylation within promoter regions (PRDM) controls vertebrate early gene transcription and thereby development, but is neglected outside this group. However, epigenetic features in the oysterCrassostrea gigassuggest functional significance of PDRM in invertebrates. To investigate this, reporter constructs containing in vitro methylated oysterHoxgene promoters were transfected into oyster embryos. The influence of in vivo methylation was studied using bisulfite sequencing and DNA methyltransferase inhibition during development. Our results demonstrate that methylation controls the transcriptional activity of the promoters investigated, unraveling a functional role for PRDM in a lophotrochozoan, an important finding regarding the evolution of epigenetic regulation.

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