Live-cell analysis of DNA methylation during sexual reproduction in Arabidopsis reveals context and sex-specific dynamics controlled by noncanonical RdDM
In this Resource/Methodology, Ingouff et al. developed a new method to investigate DNA methylation reprogramming in plants. Using Arabidopsis , the authors developed sensors that reported CG and non-CG methylation with single-cell resolution. Cytosine methylation is a key epigenetic mark in many organisms, important for both transcriptional control and genome integrity. While relatively stable during somatic growth, DNA methylation is reprogrammed genome-wide during mammalian reproduction. Reprogramming is essential for zygotic totipotency and to prevent transgenerational inheritance of epimutations. However, the extent of DNA methylation reprogramming in plants remains unclear. Here, we developed sensors reporting with single-cell resolution CG and non-CG methylation in Arabidopsis. Live imaging during reproduction revealed distinct and sex-specific dynamics for both contexts. We found that CHH methylation in the egg cell depends on DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLASE 2 (DRM2) and RNA polymerase V (Pol V), two main actors of RNA-directed DNA methylation, but does not depend on Pol IV. Our sensors provide insight into global DNA methylation dynamics at the single-cell level with high temporal resolution and offer a powerful tool to track CG and non-CG methylation both during development and in response to environmental cues in all organisms with methylated DNA, as we illustrate in mouse embryonic stem cells.
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