Phenotypic Response to Light Versus Shade Associated with DNA Methylation Changes in Snapdragon Plants (Antirrhinum majus)

Type Article
Date 2021-02
Language English
Author(s) Mouginot Pierick1, Luviano Aparicio Nelia2, Gourcilleau Delphine3, Latutrie Mathieu1, Marin Sara1, Hemptinne Jean-Louis3, Grunau ChristophORCID2, Pujol Benoit1
Affiliation(s) 1 : PSL Université Paris: EPHE-UPVD-CNRS, USR 3278 CRIOBE, Université de Perpignan, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, CEDEX 9, 66860 Perpignan, France
2 : Université Montpellier, CNRS, IFREMER, UPVD, Interactions Hôtes Pathogènes Environnements (IHPE), 66860 Perpignan, France
3 : Laboratoire Évolution & Diversité Biologique (EDB, UMR 5174), Université Fédérale de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, CNRS, IRD, UPS, 118 route de Narbonne, Bat 4R1, CEDEX 9, 31062 Toulouse, France
Source Genes (2073-4425) (MDPI AG), 2021-02 , Vol. 12 , N. 2 , P. 227 (14p.)
DOI 10.3390/genes12020227
WOS© Times Cited 1
Note This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Dynamics of Wild Populations
Keyword(s) phenotypic plasticity, epigenetics, epiGBS, stem elongation, shade avoidance

The phenotypic plasticity of plants in response to change in their light environment, and in particularly, to shade is a schoolbook example of ecologically relevant phenotypic plasticity with evolutionary adaptive implications. Epigenetic variation is known to potentially underlie plant phenotypic plasticity. Yet, little is known about its role in ecologically and evolutionary relevant mechanisms shaping the diversity of plant populations in nature. Here we used a reference-free reduced representation bisulfite sequencing method for non-model organisms (epiGBS) to investigate changes in DNA methylation patterns across the genome in snapdragon plants (Antirrhinum majus L.). We exposed plants to sunlight versus artificially induced shade in four highly inbred lines to exclude genetic confounding effects. Our results showed that phenotypic plasticity in response to light versus shade shaped vegetative traits. They also showed that DNA methylation patterns were modified under light versus shade, with a trend towards global effects over the genome but with large effects found on a restricted portion. We also detected the existence of a correlation between phenotypic and epigenetic variation that neither supported nor rejected its potential role in plasticity. While our findings imply epigenetic changes in response to light versus shade environments in snapdragon plants, whether these changes are directly involved in the phenotypic plastic response of plants remains to be investigated. Our approach contributed to this new finding but illustrates the limits in terms of sample size and statistical power of population epigenetic approaches in non-model organisms. Pushing this boundary will be necessary before the relationship between environmentally induced epigenetic changes and phenotypic plasticity is clarified for ecologically relevant mechanisms with evolutionary implications.

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Mouginot Pierick, Luviano Aparicio Nelia, Gourcilleau Delphine, Latutrie Mathieu, Marin Sara, Hemptinne Jean-Louis, Grunau Christoph, Pujol Benoit (2021). Phenotypic Response to Light Versus Shade Associated with DNA Methylation Changes in Snapdragon Plants (Antirrhinum majus). Genes, 12(2), 227 (14p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :