Salt Stress Induces Non-CG Methylation in Coding Regions of Barley Seedlings (Hordeum vulgare)

Authors Organisations
  • Moumouni Konate(Author)
    Institut de l'Environment et de Recherche Agricole (INERA)
  • Michael Wilkinson(Author)
  • Benjamin Mayne(Author)
    University of Adelaide
  • Stephen Pederson(Author)
    University of Adelaide
  • Eileen Scott(Author)
    University of Adelaide
  • Bettina Berger(Author)
    University of Adelaide
  • Carlos M. Rodríguez López(Author)
    University of Kentucky
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018
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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.


  • epigenetics, differentially methylated markers (DMMs), leaves, roots, salinity stress, barley, DNA methylation