Genetic and epigenetic dynamics of a retrotransposon after allopolyploidization of wheat Academic Article uri icon


  • Allopolyploidy, or the combination of two or more distinct genomes in one nucleus, is usually accompanied by radical genomic changes involving transposable elements (TEs). The dynamics of TEs after an allopolyploidization event are poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the methylation state and genetic rearrangements of a high copied, newly amplified terminal-repeat retrotransposon in miniature (TRIM) family in wheat termed Veju . We found that Veju insertion sites underwent massive methylation changes in the first four generations of a newly formed wheat allohexaploid. Hypomethylation or hypermethylation occurred in ∼43% of the tested insertion sites; while hypomethylation was significantly predominant in the first three generations of the newly formed allohexaploid, hypermethylation became predominant in the subsequent generation. In addition, we determined that the methylation state of Veju long terminal repeats (LTRs) might be correlated with the deletion and/or insertion of the TE. While most of the methylation changes and deletions of Veju occurred in the first generation of the newly formed allohexaploid, most Veju insertions were seen in the second generation. Finally, using quantitative PCR, we quantitatively assessed the genome composition of Veju in the newly formed allohexaploid and found that up to 50% of Veju LTRs were deleted in the first generation. Retrotransposition bursts in subsequent generations, however, led to increases in Veju elements. In light of these findings, the underlying mechanisms of TRIM rearrangements are discussed.

publication date

  • September 7, 2010