Salt stress induces non-cg methylation in coding regions of barley seedlings (Hordeum vulgare)

Moumouni Konate, Michael J. Wilkinson, Benjamin T. Mayne, Stephen M. Pederson, Eileen S. Scott, Bettina Berger, Carlos M. Rodriguez Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Salinity can negatively impact crop growth and yield. Changes in DNA methylation are known to occur when plants are challenged by stress and have been associated with the regulation of stress-response genes. However, the role of DNA-methylation in moderating gene expression in response to salt stress has been relatively poorly studied among crops such as barley. Here, we assessed the extent of salt-induced alterations of DNA methylation in barley and their putative role in perturbed gene expression. Using Next Generation Sequencing, we screened the leaf and root methylomes of five divergent barley varieties grown under control and three salt concentrations, to seek genotype independent salt-induced changes in DNA methylation. Salt stress caused increased methylation in leaves but diminished methylation in roots with a higher number of changes in leaves than in roots, indicating that salt induced changes to global methylation are organ specific. Differentially Methylated Markers (DMMs) were mostly located in close proximity to repeat elements, but also in 1094 genes, of which many possessed gene ontology (GO) terms associated with plant responses to stress. Identified markers have potential value as sentinels of salt stress and provide a starting point to allow understanding of the functional role of DNA methylation in facilitating barley’s response to this stressor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Barley
  • DNA methylation
  • Differentially methylated markers (DMMs)
  • Epigenetics
  • Roots
  • Salinity stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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