Abstract Background The function of DNA methyltransferase genes of insects is a puzzle, because an association between gene expression and methylation is not universal for insects. If the genes normally involved in cytosine methylation are not influencing gene expression, what might be their role? We previously demonstrated that gametogenesis of Oncopeltus fasciatus is interrupted at meiosis following knockdown of DNA methyltransferase 1 ( Dnmt1 ) and this is unrelated to changes in levels of cytosine methylation. Here, using transcriptomics, we tested the hypothesis that Dmnt1 is a part of the meiotic gene pathway. Testes, which almost exclusively contain gametes at varying stages of development, were sampled at 7 days and 14 days following knockdown of Dmnt1 using RNAi. Results Using microscopy, we found actively dividing spermatocysts were reduced at both timepoints. However, as with other studies, we saw Dnmt1 knockdown resulted in condensed nuclei after mitosis–meiosis transition, and then cellular arrest. We found limited support for a functional role for Dnmt1 in our predicted cell cycle and meiotic pathways. An examination of a priori Gene Ontology terms showed no enrichment for meiosis. We then used the full data set to reveal further candidate pathways influenced by Dnmt1 for further hypotheses. Very few genes were differentially expressed at 7 days, but nearly half of all transcribed genes were differentially expressed at 14 days. We found no strong candidate pathways for how Dnmt1 knockdown was achieving its effect through Gene Ontology term overrepresentation analysis. Conclusions We, therefore, suggest that Dmnt1 plays a role in chromosome dynamics based on our observations of condensed nuclei and cellular arrest with no specific molecular pathways disrupted.
Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024