Current Zoology(formerly Acta Zoologica Sinica), 2012, 58(1): 138 - 145
The influence of mitochondria in epigenetics revealed through naturally occurring fish cybrids
Bernard ANGERS, Antoine DALLAIRE, Simon VERVAET, Francis VALLIÈRES,Annie ANGERS
D e p a r t m e n t o f B i o l o g i c a l S c i e n c e s , U n i v e r s i t é d e M o n t r é a l , C . P . 6 1 2 8 , s u c c . C e n t r e - V i l l e , M o n t r é a l , Q u é b e c , C a n a d a
Epigenetic processes are important mechanisms for phenotypic changes that occur in response to the environment. As such, it is expected that the alteration of cytoplasmic composition (the immediate environment of nuclei) results in the modification of the methylome and the expression of the nuclear genome. Cytoplasmic hybrids (or cybrids) are an ideal model to study the influence of mitochondria on gene expression. In this study, we take advantage of the natural co-occurrence of two biotypes that have a similar nuclear genome type (Chrosomus eos), but harbor mitochondria from different species (C. eos in wild type or C. neogaeus in cybrids) to assess the effects of mitochondria on DNA methylation profiles and protein expression of the nuclear genome. Comparison between these biotypes is particularly relevant given their recent divergence and their low level of genetic differentiation. Variations of DNA methylation assessed on tissues from different embryonic origins revealed the distinct profiles of cybrid and wild type populations. Differences are more pronounced between wild type and cybrids than between populations of a given biotype. The proteome is also more different between biotypes than within a given biotype. These results indicate a strong influence of mitochondria on the nuclear genome, which remains detectable in different genetic and environmental contexts. These changes in the methylome and proteome of cybrids are expected to reflect the adjustments imposed by the coexistence of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes from different species [Current Zoology 58 (1): 138–145, 2012].