DNA methylation systems are well characterized in vertebrates, but methylation in Drosophila melanogoster 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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas