Catharanthus roseus produces a wide spectrum of monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs). MIA biosynthesis requires a tightly coordinated pathway involving more than 30 enzymatic steps that are spatio-temporally and environmentally regulated so that some MIAs specifically accumulate in restricted plant parts. The first regulatory layer involves a complex network of transcription factors from the basic Helix Loop Helix (bHLH) or AP2 families. In the present manuscript, we investigated whether an additional epigenetic layer could control the organ-, developmental- and environmental-specificity of MIA accumulation. We used Whole-Genome Bisulfite Sequencing (WGBS) together with RNA-seq to identify differentially methylated and expressed genes among nine samples reflecting different plant organs and experimental conditions. Tissue specific gene expression was associated with specific methylation signatures depending on cytosine contexts and gene parts. Some genes encoding key enzymatic steps from the MIA pathway were found to be simultaneously differentially expressed and methylated in agreement with the corresponding MIA accumulation. In addition, we found that transcription factors were strikingly concerned by DNA methylation variations. Altogether, our integrative analysis supports an epigenetic regulation of specialized metabolisms in plants and more likely targeting transcription factors which in turn may control the expression of enzyme-encoding genes.
Int J Mol Sci (International journal of molecular sciences)
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