African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

DNA cytosine methylation alterations associated with aluminium toxicity and low pH in Sorghum bicolor

Josphert N. Kimatu1,3, Moussa Diarso1, Congdi Song1, Rebecca S. Agboola1, Jinsong Pang1, Xin Qi2 and Bao Liu1
1Key Laboratory of Molecular Epigenetics of MOE and Institute of Genetics and Cytology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China. 2Department of Agronomy, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, China. 3Department of Biological Sciences, South Eastern University College (A Constituent College of the University of Nairobi) P. O. Box 170-90200-Kitui, Kenya.
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 August 2011
  •  Published: 19 September 2011


Aluminium (Al) toxicity stress reduces crop yields in acidic soils. In this study, we investigated the level of DNA Cytosine methylation polymorphism caused by 150 μM Al3+ (89.97% free Al3+) induction, low pH (4.0) and continuous application of 150 μM Al3+ in Sorghum inbred lines using methylation sensitive amplified polymorphism analysis (MSAP) and searched for homologies using the BLASTN program. We found that 150 μM Al3+ toxicity and low pH induced a persistent moderate DNA cytosine (C) methylation changes at early seedling stage. Analysis of DNA CG and CNG methylation levels showed variations amongst the inbreeds with more changes occurring at the CNG level than in the CG level. Morphological observations showed that Al and low pH stress triggered crop yield changes. BLAST analysis suggested that possible polymorphisms occurred in the regulatory regions of Al tolerance genes mainly via histone deacetylase, methyltransferase, peptide signals and transcription factors and could have definite roles in allelic effects which influence gene expression and an increase in Sorghum stress resistance.


Key words: Aluminium toxicity, DNA methylation, epigenetics, methylation sensitive amplified polymorphism analysis (MSAP), sorghum.