DNA Methylation in Ctenophores

Methods Mol Biol. 2024:2757:447-460. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3642-8_18.


Epigenomic regulation and dynamic DNA methylation, in particular, are widespread mechanisms orchestrating the genome operation across time and species. Whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) is currently the only method for unbiasedly capturing the presence of 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) DNA methylation patterns across an entire genome with single-nucleotide resolution. Bisulfite treatment converts unmethylated cytosines to uracils but leaves methylated cytosines intact, thereby creating a map of all methylated cytosines across a genome also known as a methylome. These epigenomic patterns of DNA methylation have been found to regulate gene expression and influence gene evolution rates between species. While protocols have been optimized for vertebrate methylome production, little adaptation has been done for invertebrates. Creating a methylome reference allows comparisons to be made between rates of transcription and epigenomic patterning in animals. Here we present a method of library construction for bisulfite sequencing optimized for non-bilateral metazoans such as the ctenophore, Mnemiopsis leidyi. We have improved upon our previously published method by including spike-in genomic DNA controls to measure methylation conversion rates. By pooling two bisulfite conversion reactions from the same individual, we also produced sequencing libraries that yielded a higher percentage of sequenced reads uniquely mapping to the reference genome. We successfully detected 5-mC in whole-animal methylomes at CpG, CHG, and CHH sites and visualized datasets using circos diagrams. The proof-of-concept tests were performed both under control conditions and following injury tests with changes in methylation patterns of genes encoding innexins, toxins and neuropeptides. Our approach can be easily adapted to produce epigenomes from other fragile marine animals.

Keywords: 5-mC, innexins, neuropeptides; Ctenophora; DNA methylation; Genome; Mnemiopsis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Ctenophora* / genetics
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Epigenome
  • Epigenomics / methods
  • Genome
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods
  • Sulfites / chemistry
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / methods


  • Sulfites
  • hydrogen sulfite
  • 5-Methylcytosine