Assessment of epigenetic methylation changes in hop (Humulus lupulus) plants obtained by meristem culture

Patzak J., Henychová A., Svoboda P., Malířová I. (2020): Assessment of epigenetic methylation changes in hop (Humulus lupulus) plants obtained by meristem culture. Czech J. Genet. Plant Breed., 56: 159−164.

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In vitro meristem cultures have been used for the production of hop (Humulus lupulus L.) virus-free rootstocks worldwide, because multipropagation is considered to preserve the genetic stability of the produced plantlet. Nevertheless, in vitro tissue cultures can cause genetic and epigenetic changes. Therefore, we studied the genetic and epigenetic variability of Saaz Osvald’s clones, Sládek and Premiant cultivars on the DNA methylation level by methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP). In vitro propagated plants, acclimatised glasshouse rootstocks as well as derived mericlones and control plants under field conditions were used for the analyses. A total of 346 clearly and highly reproducible amplified products were detected in the MSAP analyses within the studied hop plants. We found 16 polymorphic products (4.6% of products) and 64 products with methylation changes (18.5% of products) in the analyses. The demethylation events were comparable to the de novo methylation events. Most demethylation changes were found in the in vitro plants, but only a few of them were found in the derived mericlones under field conditions. In contrast, the de novo methylation changes persisted in the acclimatised plants under glasshouse or field conditions. A hierarchical cluster analysis was used for the evaluation of the molecular genetic variability within the individual samples. The dendrogram showed that the individual samples of the same variety, more or less, clustered together. Because the methylation status varied during the virus-free rootstock production process, we suppose that de/methylation process is a natural tool of epigenetics and evolution in vegetatively propagated plants.

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