Detection of genome DNA methylation change in spinach induced by 5-azaC

Mol Cell Probes. 2014 Aug;28(4):163-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mcp.2014.02.002. Epub 2014 Feb 18.


DNA methylation has been implicated in the regulation of gene expression, genome imprinting, and chromatin remodeling in eukaryotes. In this study, we analyzed possible alterations in levels and patterns of cytosine methylation in male and female spinach plants after treatment with demethylation agent 5-azacytidine (5-azaC) using two methods: (1) direct determination of 5-methylcytidine (5 mC) amounts in genomic DNA by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation and quantification of nucleosides and (2) methylation-sensitive inter-simple sequence repeat (MS-ISSR) technique. HPLC analysis revealed that the DNA methylation events in male and female spinach leaves markedly decreased upon 30 μM 5-azaC treatment, and the methylation level gradually decreased with the increase in 5-azaC concentration. To study the altered DNA methylation patterns in spinach after 5-azaC treatment, untreated and 500 μM 5-azaC-treated samples were analyzed by MS-ISSR assay. A total of 385 informative profiles were resolved using 35 ISSR primer sets. MS-ISSR analysis showed various altered methylation patterns between untreated and 5-azaC-treated spinach plants. These alterations were mainly demethylation events, which were largely consistent with the HPLC results. Both HPLC and MS-ISSR analyses showed that the changes in DNA methylation levels and patterns were similar in male and female spinach leaves, which implies that sex was not the main factor influencing DNA methylation levels and patterns in the vegetative organs of spinach. This study could provide a molecular basis of the altered DNA methylation induced by 5-azaC, and lay a foundation for further investigation of the relationship between methylation and sex determination and development in this dioecious plant spinach.

Keywords: 5-azaC; DNA methylation; HPLC; MS-ISSR; Spinach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azacitidine / administration & dosage*
  • Azacitidine / pharmacology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genome, Plant* / drug effects
  • Nucleosides / analysis
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Spinacia oleracea / drug effects*
  • Spinacia oleracea / genetics


  • Nucleosides
  • Azacitidine