Functional CpG methylation system in a social insect
At the time of publication, Peter Jones was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
DNA methylation systems are well characterized in vertebrates, but methylation in Drosophila melanogaster and other invertebrates remains controversial. Using the recently sequenced honey bee genome, we present a bioinformatic, molecular, and biochemical characterization of a functional DNA methylation system in an insect. We report on catalytically active orthologs of the vertebrate DNA methyltransferases Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a and b, two isoforms that contain a methyl-DNA binding domain, genomic 5-methyl-deoxycytosine, and CpG-methylated genes. The honey bee provides an opportunity to study the roles of methylation in social contexts.