DNA methylation is one of the major epigenetic modifications influencing the regulation of gene expression. The opium poppy is an important medicinal plant. Its latex contains opium, which is a rich source of pharmaceutical benzyisoquinoline alkaloids (BIA). Here, the methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP) profiling technique using 21 MSAP molecular markers was applied in order to compare levels of DNA methylation between 6 opium poppy varieties. MSAP profiling reflected the different methylation statuses among opium poppy varieties having divergent BIA content. Moreover, different organ-specific epigenetic profiles were observed between the samples. Differential epigenetic profiles of capsules and shoots from the leaves pointed to the impact of methylation on BIA biosynthesis. The data implied that the different DNA methylation status may have important biological significance, in the case of alkaloid content in opium poppy in particular.
Keywords: BIA; MSAP; epigenetics; methylation; opium poppy.
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