Browsing by Subject "co-expression network"

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  • Morandin, Claire; Brendel, Volker P.; Sundstrom, Liselotte; Helantera, Heikki; Mikheyev, Alexander S. (2019)
    Social insects provide systems for studying epigenetic regulation of phenotypes, particularly with respect to differentiation of reproductive and worker castes, which typically arise from a common genetic background. The role of gene expression in caste specialization has been extensively studied, but the role of DNA methylation remains controversial. Here, we perform well replicated, integrated analyses of DNA methylation and gene expression in brains of an ant (Formica exsecta) with distinct female castes using traditional approaches (tests of differential methylation) combined with a novel approach (analysis of co-expression and co-methylation networks). We found differences in expression and methylation profiles between workers and queens at different life stages, as well as some overlap between DNA methylation and expression at the functional level. Large portions of the transcriptome and methylome are organized into "modules" of genes, some significantly associated with phenotypic traits of castes and developmental stages. Several gene co-expression modules are preserved in co-methylation networks, consistent with possible regulation of caste-specific gene expression by DNA methylation. Surprisingly, brain co-expression modules were highly preserved when compared with a previous study that examined whole-body co-expression patterns in 16 ant species, suggesting that these modules are evolutionarily conserved and for specific functions in various tissues. Altogether, these results suggest that DNA methylation participates in regulation of caste specialization and age-related physiological changes in social insects.
  • Yang, Mei; Zhu, Lingping; Li, Ling; Li, Juanjuan; Xu, Liming; Feng, Ji; Liu, Yanling (2017)
    The predominant alkaloids in lotus leaves are aporphine alkaloids. These are the most important active components and have many pharmacological properties, but little is known about their biosynthesis. We used digital gene expression (DGE) technology to identify differentially-expressed genes (DEGs) between two lotus cultivars with different alkaloid contents at four leaf development stages. We also predicted potential genes involved in aporphine alkaloid biosynthesis by weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). Approximately 335 billion nucleotides were generated; and 94% of which were aligned against the reference genome. Of 22 thousand expressed genes, 19,000 were differentially expressed between the two cultivars at the four stages. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis revealed that catalytic activity and oxidoreductase activity were enriched significantly in most pairwise comparisons. In Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, dozens of DEGs were assigned to the categories of biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, isoquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis, and flavonoid biosynthesis. The genes encoding norcoclaurine synthase (NCS), norcoclaurine 6-O-methyltransferase (6OMT), coclaurine N-methyltransferase (CNMT), N-methylcoclaurine 3'-hydroxylase (NMCH), and 3'-hydroxy-N-methylcoclaurine 4'-O-methyltransferase (4'OMT) in the common pathways of benzylisoquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis and the ones encoding corytuberine synthase (CTS) in aporphine alkaloid biosynthetic pathway, which have been characterized in other plants, were identified in lotus. These genes had positive effects on alkaloid content, albeit with phenotypic lag. The WGCNA of DEGs revealed that one network module was associated with the dynamic change of alkaloid content. Eleven genes encoding proteins with methyltransferase, oxidoreductase and CYP450 activities were identified. These were surmised to be genes involved in aporphine alkaloid biosynthesis. This transcriptomic database provides new directions for future studies on clarifying the aporphine alkaloid pathway.