Epigenetic regulation in insects may have effects on diverse biological processes. Here we survey the methylome of a model insect, the silkworm Bombyx mori, at single-base resolution using Illumina high-throughput bisulfite sequencing (MethylC-Seq). We conservatively estimate that 0.11% of genomic cytosines are methylcytosines, all of which probably occur in CG dinucleotides. CG methylation is substantially enriched in gene bodies and is positively correlated with gene expression levels, suggesting it has a positive role in gene transcription. We find that transposable elements, promoters and ribosomal DNAs are hypomethylated, but in contrast, genomic loci matching small RNAs in gene bodies are densely methylated. This work contributes to our understanding of epigenetics in insects, and in contrast to previous studies of the highly methylated genomes of Arabidopsis and human, demonstrates a strategy for sequencing the epigenomes of organisms such as insects that have low levels of methylation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Molecular Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering