DOI: 10.3390/ijms25010321 ISSN: 1422-0067

Analysis of Chromatin Accessibility and DNA Methylation to Reveal the Functions of Epigenetic Modifications in Cyprinus carpio Gonads

Mingxi Hou, Qi Wang, Ran Zhao, Yiming Cao, Jin Zhang, Xiaoqing Sun, Shuangting Yu, Kaikuo Wang, Yingjie Chen, Yan Zhang, Jiongtang Li
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Epigenetic modifications are critical in precisely regulating gene expression. The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is an economically important fish species, and females exhibit faster growth rates than males. However, the studies related to epigenetic modifications in the common carp gonads are limited. In this study, we conducted the Assay for Transposase Accessible Chromatin sequencing (ATAC-seq) and Bisulfite sequencing (BS-seq) to explore the roles of epigenetic modifications in the common carp gonads. We identified 84,207 more accessible regions and 77,922 less accessible regions in ovaries compared to testes, and some sex-biased genes showed differential chromatin accessibility in their promoter regions, such as sox9a and zp3. Motif enrichment analysis showed that transcription factors (TFs) associated with embryonic development and cell proliferation were heavily enriched in ovaries, and the TFs Foxl2 and SF1 were only identified in ovaries. We also analyzed the possible regulations between chromatin accessibility and gene expression. By BS-seq, we identified 2087 promoter differentially methylated genes (promoter-DMGs) and 5264 gene body differentially methylated genes (genebody-DMGs) in CG contexts. These genebody-DMGs were significantly enriched in the Wnt signaling pathway, TGF-beta signaling pathway, and GnRH signaling pathway, indicating that methylation in gene body regions could play an essential role in sex maintenance, just like methylation in promoter regions. Combined with transcriptomes, we revealed that the expression of dmrtb1-like, spag6, and fels was negatively correlated with their methylation levels in promoter regions. Our study on the epigenetic modifications of gonads contributes to elucidating the molecular mechanism of sex differentiation and sex maintenance in the common carp.

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