A functional DNA methylation system in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum

Insect Mol Biol. 2010 Mar;19 Suppl 2:215-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2583.2009.00974.x.


Methylation of cytosine is one of the main epigenetic mechanisms involved in controlling gene expression. Here we show that the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) genome possesses homologues to all the DNA methyltransferases found in vertebrates, and that 0.69% (+/-0.25%) of all cytosines are methylated. Identified methylation sites are predominantly restricted to the coding sequence of genes at CpG sites. We identify twelve methylated genes, including genes that interact with juvenile hormone, a key endocrine signal in insects. Bioinformatic prediction using CpG ratios for all predicted genes suggest that a large proportion of genes are methylated within the pea aphid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Aphids / genetics*
  • Aphids / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • CpG Islands
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA-Cytosine Methylases / genetics
  • DNA-Cytosine Methylases / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Genes, Insect
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Juvenile Hormones / genetics
  • Juvenile Hormones / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peas / parasitology
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • Insect Proteins
  • Juvenile Hormones
  • DNA-Cytosine Methylases