Polyploidization is known to accompany altered DNA methylation in higher plants, which plays an important role in gene expression regulation and maintaining genome stability. While the characteristics of DNA methylation in different polyploid plants are still to be elucidated; here, status of genomic DNA methylation in a series of diploid, triploid, and tetraploid annual herbaceous plants (watermelon and Salvia) and woody perennials (pear, Poplar, and loquat) were explored by methylation-specific amplified polymorphism analysis. The results indicated that levels of DNA methylation in triploid watermelon and Salvia were lower than their diploid parents. In triploid Poplar and pear, higher levels of DNA methylation were detected, and no significant difference was observed between triploid and tetraploid in all tested materials. Further data analysis suggested that about half of the total detected sites underwent changes of DNA methylation patterns in triploid watermelons and Salvia, as well as an obvious trend towards demethylation. However, the changes of DNA methylation patterns in three triploid woody perennials were only 17.54-33.40%. This implied that the characteristics of DNA methylation are significantly different during the polyploidization of different plant species. Furthermore, the results suggested that the level of DNA methylation was nonlinearly related to the ploidy level, and triploid plants displayed more interesting DNA methylation status. The characteristics and possible functions of DNA methylation in different ploidy series are further discussed.
Keywords: Annual herbaceous plants; DNA methylation; MSAP; Polyploidization; Woody perennial.