Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in the sexual stage of the insect pathogenic fungus Cordyceps militaris

Fungal Biol. 2015 Dec;119(12):1246-1254. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2015.08.017. Epub 2015 Sep 5.


DNA methylation is a basic epigenetic mechanism found in eukaryotes, but its patterns and roles vary significantly among diverse taxa. In fungi, DNA methylation has various effects on diverse biological processes. However, its function in the sexual development of fungi remains unclear. Cordyceps militaris, readily performs sexual reproduction and thus provides a remarkably rich model for understanding epigenetic processes in sexual development. Here, we surveyed the methylome of C. militaris at single-base resolution to assess DNA methylation patterns during sexual development using genomic bisulfite sequencing (BS-Seq). The results showed that approximately 0.4 % of cytosines are methylated, similar to the DNA methylation level (0.39 %) during asexual development. Importantly, we found that DNA methylation in the fungi undergoes global reprogramming during fungal development. Moreover, RNA-Seq analysis indicated that the differentially methylated regions (DMRs) have no correlation with the genes that have roles during fungal sexual development in C. militaris. These results provide a comprehensive characterization of DNA methylation in the sexual development of C. militaris, which will contribute to future investigations of epigenetics in fungi.

Keywords: Genomic bisulfite sequencing (BS-Seq); Global reprogramming; Methylome; RNA-Seq; Sexual development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cordyceps / genetics*
  • Cordyceps / growth & development*
  • Cordyceps / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genome, Fungal*
  • Lepidoptera / growth & development
  • Lepidoptera / microbiology*
  • Pupa / microbiology


  • Fungal Proteins