5-methyl-cytosine and 5-hydroxy-methyl-cytosine in the genome of Biomphalaria glabrata, a snail intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Biomphalaria glabrata is the mollusc intermediate host for Schistosoma mansoni, a digenean flatworm parasite that causes human intestinal schistosomiasis. An estimated 200 million people in 74 countries suffer from schistosomiasis, in terms of morbidity this is the most severe tropical disease after malaria. Epigenetic information informs on the status of gene activity that is heritable, for which changes are reversible and that is not based on the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms generate variability that provides a source for potentially heritable phenotypic variation and therefore could be involved in the adaptation to environmental constraint. Phenotypic variations are particularly important in host-parasite interactions in which both selective pressure and rate of evolution are high. In this context, epigenetic changes are expected to be major drivers of phenotypic plasticity and co-adaptation between host and parasite. Consequently, with characterization of the genomes of invertebrates that are parasite vectors or intermediate hosts, it is also essential to understand how the epigenetic machinery functions to better decipher the interplay between host and parasite. METHODS: The CpGo/e ratios were used as a proxy to investigate the occurrence of CpG methylation in B. glabrata coding regions. The presence of DNA methylation in B. glabrata was also confirmed by several experimental approaches: restriction enzymatic digestion with isoschizomers, bisulfite conversion based techniques and LC-MS/MS analysis. RESULTS: In this work, we report that DNA methylation, which is one of the carriers of epigenetic information, occurs in B. glabrata; approximately 2% of cytosine nucleotides are methylated. We describe the methylation machinery of B. glabrata. Methylation occurs predominantly at CpG sites, present at high ratios in coding regions of genes associated with housekeeping functions. We also demonstrate by bisulfite treatment that methylation occurs in multiple copies of Nimbus, a transposable element. CONCLUSIONS: This study details DNA methylation for the first time, one of the carriers of epigenetic information in B. glabrata. The general characteristics of DNA methylation that we observed in the B. glabrata genome conform to what epigenetic studies have reported from other invertebrate species.
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Sara Fneich, Nolwenn Dheilly, Coen Adema, Anne Rognon, Michael Reichelt, et al.. 5-methyl-cytosine and 5-hydroxy-methyl-cytosine in the genome of Biomphalaria glabrata, a snail intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni.. Parasites and Vectors, BioMed Central, 2013, 6, pp.167. ⟨10.1186/1756-3305-6-167⟩. ⟨halsde-00839033⟩

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