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Sex‐specific expression and DNA methylation in a species with extreme sexual dimorphism and paternal genome elimination

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posted on 2024-05-22, 13:15 authored by Stevie A Bain, Hollie Marshall, Andrés G de la Filia, Dominik R Laetsch, Filip Husnik, Laura Ross

Phenotypic differences between sexes are often mediated by differential expression and alternative splicing of genes. However, the mechanisms that regulate these expression and splicing patterns remain poorly understood. The mealybug, Planococcus citri, displays extreme sexual dimorphism and exhibits an unusual instance of sex‐specific genomic imprinting, paternal genome elimination (PGE), in which the paternal chromosomes in males are highly condensed and eliminated from the sperm. Planococcus citri has no sex chromosomes and both sexual dimorphism and PGE are predicted to be under epigenetic control. We recently showed that P. citri females display a highly unusual DNA methylation profile for an insect species, with the presence of promoter methylation associated with lower levels of gene expression. Here, we therefore decided to explore genome‐wide differences in DNA methylation between male and female P. citri using whole‐genome bisulphite sequencing. We identified extreme differences in genome‐wide levels and patterns between the sexes. Males display overall higher levels of DNA methylation which manifest as more uniform low levels across the genome. Whereas females display more targeted high levels of methylation. We suggest these unique sex‐specific differences are due to chromosomal differences caused by PGE and may be linked to possible ploidy compensation. Using RNA‐Seq, we identify extensive sex‐specific gene expression and alternative splicing, but we find no correlation with cis‐acting DNA methylation.

Funding

The Evolutionary Dynamics of Genetic Conflict: the Origin, Maintenance and Loss of Paternal Genome Elimination.

Natural Environment Research Council

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Royal Society. Grant Number: RG160842

Wellcome Trust—Institutional Strategic Support Fund

History

Author affiliation

College of Life Sciences/Genetics & Genome Biology

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Molecular Ecology

Volume

30

Issue

22

Pagination

5687 - 5703

Publisher

Wiley

issn

0962-1083

eissn

1365-294X

Copyright date

2021

Available date

2024-05-22

Language

en

Deposited by

Dr Hollie Marshall

Deposit date

2024-04-25

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