Variation in cytosine methylation patterns during ploidy level conversions in Eragrostis curvula.
ABSTRACT In many species polyploidization involves rearrangements of the progenitor genomes, at both genetic and epigenetic levels. We analyzed the cytosine methylation status in a 'tetraploid-diploid-tetraploid' series of Eragrostis curvula with a common genetic background by using the MSAP (Methylation-sensitive Amplified Polymorphism) technique. Considerable levels of polymorphisms were detected during ploidy conversions. The total level of methylation observed was lower in the diploid genotype compared to the tetraploid ones. A significant proportion of the epigenetic modifications occurring during the tetraploid-diploid conversion reverted during the diploid-tetraploid one. Genetic and expression data from previous work were used to analyze correlation with methylation variation. All genetic, epigenetic and gene expression variation data correlated significantly when compared by pairs in simple Mantel tests. Dendrograms reflecting genetic, epigenetic and expression distances as well as principal coordinate analysis suggested that plants of identical ploidy levels present similar sets of data. Twelve (12) different genomic fragments displaying different methylation behavior during the ploidy conversions were isolated, sequenced and characterized.