Cytosine methylation of DNA is an important epigenetic gene silencing mechanism in plants, fungi, and animals. In the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa, nearly all known DNA methylations occur in transposon relics and repetitive sequences, and DNA methylation does not depend on the canonical RNAi pathway. disiRNAs are Dicer-independent small non-coding RNAs that arise from gene-rich part of the Neurospora genome. Here we describe a new type of DNA methylation that is associated with the disiRNA loci. Unlike the known DNA methylation in Neurospora, disiRNA loci DNA methylation (DLDM) is highly dynamic and is regulated by an on/off mechanism. Some disiRNA production appears to rely on pol II directed transcription. Importantly, DLDM is triggered by convergent transcription and enriched in promoter regions. Together, our results establish a new mechanism that triggers DNA methylation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research