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The contrasting response to drought and waterlogging is underpinned by divergent DNA methylation programs associated with transcript accumulation in sesame

Komivi, Dossa, Marie, Ali Mmadi, Rong, Zhou, Qi, Zhou, Mei, Yang, Ndiaga, Cisse, Diaga, Diouf, Linhai, Wang, Xiurong, Zhang
Plant science 2018 v.277 pp. 207-217
DNA methylation, Sesamum indicum, drought, drought tolerance, epigenetics, flooded conditions, genes, genotype, loci, messenger RNA, water stress, Africa, India
DNA methylation is a heritable epigenetic mechanism that participates in gene regulation under abiotic stresses in plants. Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is typically considered a drought-tolerant crop but highly susceptible to waterlogging, probably because of its origin in Africa or India. Understanding DNA methylation patterns under drought and waterlogging conditions can provide insights into the regulatory mechanisms underlying sesame contrasting responses to these abiotic stresses. We combined Methylation-Sensitive Amplified Polymorphism and transcriptome analyses to profile cytosine methylation patterns, transcript accumulation, and their interplay in drought-tolerant and waterlogging-tolerant sesame genotypes. Drought stress strongly induced de novo methylation (DNM) whereas most of the loci were demethylated (DM) during the recovery phase. In contrast, waterlogging stress decreased the level of methylation but during the recovery phase, both DM and DNM were concomitantly deployed. In both stresses, the levels of the differentially accumulated transcripts (DATs) highly correlated with the methylation patterns. We observed that DM was associated with an increase of DAT levels while DNM was correlated with a decrease of DAT levels. Altogether, sesame has divergent epigenetic programs that respond to drought and waterlogging stresses and an interplay among DNA methylation and transcript accumulation may partly modulate the contrasting responses to these stresses.