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Article|01 Jul 2021|OPEN
Dynamic changes in transposable element and gene methylation in mulberry (Morus notabilis) in response to Botrytis cinerea
Youchao Xin1,2, Bi Ma1, Qiwei Zeng1, Wenmin He1, Meiling Qin1 & Ningjia He1,
1State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, Southwest University, Beibei, Chongqing 400715, China
2College of Forestry, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong 271018, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 154 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.154
Views: 137

Received: 14 Oct 2020
Revised: 24 Mar 2021
Accepted: 19 Apr 2021
Published online: 01 Jul 2021


DNA methylation has been proposed to regulate plant stress resistance. However, the dynamic changes in DNA methylation in woody plants and their correlations with pathogenic responses are not fully understood. Here, we present single-base maps of the DNA methylomes of mulberry (Morus notabilis) leaves that were subjected to a mock treatment or inoculation with Botrytis cinerea. Compared with the former, the latter showed decreased mCG and mCHG levels and increased mCHH levels. DNA methylation inhibitors reduced resistance gene methylation levels and enhanced mulberry resistance, suggesting that the hypomethylation of resistance genes affects mulberry resistance to B. cinerea. Virus-induced gene silencing of MnMET1 enhanced the expression of mulberry-resistance genes, thereby increasing the plant’s resistance to B. cinerea. We also found that MITEs play a dominant role in controlling DNA methylation levels. MITEs appear to be the main sources of 24-nt siRNAs that regulate gene expression through the RNA-directed DNA methylation pathway.