Facial reconstruction

Search LJMU Research Online

Browse Repository | Browse E-Theses

A role for DNA methylation in bumblebee morphogenesis hints at female-specific developmental erasure

Hunt, BJ, Pegoraro, M, Marshall, H and Mallon, EB (2024) A role for DNA methylation in bumblebee morphogenesis hints at female-specific developmental erasure. Insect Molecular Biology. ISSN 0962-1075

Insect Molecular Biology - 2024 - Hunt - A role for DNA methylation in bumblebee morphogenesis hints at femaleā€specific (1).pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (539kB) | Preview


Epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, are crucial factors in animal development. In some mammals, almost all DNA methylation is erased during embryo development and re-established in a sex- and cell-specific manner. This erasure and re-establishment is thought to primarily be a vertebrate-specific trait. Insects are particularly interesting in terms of development as many species often undergo remarkable morphological changes en route to maturity, that is, morphogenesis. However, little is known about the role of epigenetic mechanisms in this process across species. We have used whole-genome bisulfite sequencing to track genome-wide DNA methylation changes through the development of an economically and environmentally important pollinator species, the bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera:Apidae Linnaeus). We find overall levels of DNA methylation vary throughout development, and we find developmentally relevant differentially methylated genes throughout. Intriguingly, we have identified a depletion of DNA methylation in ovaries/eggs and an enrichment of highly methylated genes in sperm. We suggest this could represent a sex-specific DNA methylation erasure event. To our knowledge, this is the first suggestion of possible developmental DNA methylation erasure in an insect species. This study lays the required groundwork for functional experimental work to determine if there is a causal nature to the DNA methylation differences identified. Additionally, the application of single-cell methylation sequencing to this system will enable more accurate identification of if or when DNA methylation is erased during development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: BS-seq; Bombus; development; methylome; social insects; 06 Biological Sciences; Entomology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2024 14:02
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2024 14:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/imb.12897
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22688
View Item View Item