Differential DNA methylation may contribute to temporal and spatial regulation of gene expression and the development of mycelia and conidia in entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium robertsii

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2017 British Mycological Society Conidia and mycelia are two important developmental stages in the asexual life cycle of entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium. Despite the crucial role that DNA methylation plays in many biological processes, its role in regulation of gene expression and development in fungi is not yet fully understood. We performed genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation patterns of an M. robertsii strain with single base pair resolution. Specifically, we examined for changes in methylation patterns between the conidia and mycelia stages. The results showed that approximately 0.38 % of cytosines are methylated in conidia, which is lower than the DNA methylation level (0.42 %) in mycelia. We found that DNA methylation undergoes genome-wide reprogramming during fungal development in M. robertsii. 132 differentially methylated regions (DMRs), which were mostly distributed in gene regions, were identified. KEGG analysis revealed that the DMR-associated genes belong to metabolic pathways. Intriguingly, in contrast to most other eukaryotes, promoter activities in M. robertsii seemed differentially modulated by DNA methylation levels. We found that transcription tended to be enhanced in genes with moderate promoter methylation, while gene expression was decreased in genes with high or low promoter methylation.

Publication Title

Fungal Biology