The Kdm/Kmt gene families in the self-fertilizing mangrove rivulus fish, Kryptolebias marmoratus, suggest involvement of histone methylation machinery in development and reproduction

Alexandre Fellous, Ryan L Earley, Frederic Silvestre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Histone modifications such as methylation of key lysine residues play an important role in embryonic development in a variety of organisms such as of Pacific oysters, zebrafish and mice. The action of demethylase ("erasers") and methyltransferase ("writers") enzymes regulates precisely the methylation status of each lysine residue. However, despite fishes being very useful model organisms in medicine, evolution and ecotoxicology, most studies have focused on mammalian and plant model organisms, and mechanisms underlying regulation of histones are unknown in fish development outside of zebrafish. Here, putative histone lysine demethylases (Kdm) and methyltransferases (Kmt) were identified in an isogenic lineage of the self-fertilizing hermaphroditic vertebrate, the mangrove rivulus fish, Kryptolebias marmoratus. Evolutionary relationships with other animal demethylases and methyltransferases were examined, and expression patterns during embryonic development and in adult tissues were characterized. Twenty-five Kdm orthologues (Jarid2, Jmjd1c, Jmjd4, Jmjd6, Jmjd7, Jmjd8, Kdm1a, Kdm1b, Kdm2a, Kdm2b, Kdm3b, Kdm4a, Kdm4b, Kdm4c, Kdm5a, Kdm5b, Kdm5c, Kdm6a, Kdm6b, Kdm7a, Kdm8, Kdm9, UTY, Phf2 and Phf8) and forty-eight Kmt orthologues (Ezh1, Ezh2, Setd2, Nsd1, Nsd2, Nsd3, Ash1l, Kmt2e, Setd5, Prdm1, Prdm2, Prdm4, Prdm5, Prdm6, Prdm8, Prdm9, Prdm10, Prdm11, Prdm12, Prdm13, Prdm14, Prdm15, Prdm16, Setd3, Setd4, Setd6, Setd1a, Setd1b, Kmt2a, Kmt2b, Kmt2c, Kmt2d, Kmt5a, Kmt5b, Ehmt1, Ehmt2, Suv39h1, Setmar, Setdb1, Setdb2, Smyd1, Smyd2, Smyd3, Smyd4, Smyd5, Setd7, Setd9, Dot1l) were discovered. Expression patterns of both Kdm and Kmt were variable during embryonic development with a peak in gastrula stage and a reduction in later embryogenesis. Expression of both Kdm and Kmt was higher in male brains compared to hermaphrodite brains whereas specific expression patterns of Kdm and Kmt were observed in the hermaphrodite ovotestes and male testes, respectively. Putative histone demethylases (Kdm) and methyltransferases (Kmt) were for the first time characterized in a teleost besides zebrafish, the mangrove rivulus. Their domain conservation and expression profiles suggest that they might play important roles during development, gametogenesis and neurogenesis, which raises questions about epigenetic regulation of these processes by histone lysine methylation in K. marmoratus. Due to its peculiar mode of reproduction and the natural occurrence of isogenic lineages, this new model species is of great interest for understanding epigenetic contributions to the regulation of development and reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Development
  • Gametogenesis
  • Histone methylation
  • Kdm
  • Kmt
  • Kryptolebias marmoratus


Dive into the research topics of 'The Kdm/Kmt gene families in the self-fertilizing mangrove rivulus fish, Kryptolebias marmoratus, suggest involvement of histone methylation machinery in development and reproduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this