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Plant Cell. 2013 Feb;25(2):762-76. doi: 10.1105/tpc.113.109116. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

The Arabidopsis elongator complex subunit2 epigenetically regulates plant immune responses.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


The Arabidopsis thaliana Elongator complex subunit2 (ELP2) genetically interacts with NONEXPRESSOR OF PATHOGENESIS-RELATED GENES1 (NPR1), a key transcription coactivator of plant immunity, and regulates the induction kinetics of defense genes. However, the mechanistic relationship between ELP2 and NPR1 and how ELP2 regulates the kinetics of defense gene induction are unclear. Here, we demonstrate that ELP2 is an epigenetic regulator required for pathogen-induced rapid transcriptome reprogramming. We show that ELP2 functions in a transcriptional feed-forward loop regulating both NPR1 and its target genes. An elp2 mutation increases the total methylcytosine number, reduces the average methylation levels of methylcytosines, and alters (increases or decreases) methylation levels of specific methylcytosines. Interestingly, infection of plants with the avirulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000/avrRpt2 induces biphasic changes in DNA methylation levels of NPR1 and PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT4 (PAD4), which encodes another key regulator of plant immunity. These dynamic changes are blocked by the elp2 mutation, which is correlated with delayed induction of NPR1 and PAD4. The elp2 mutation also reduces basal histone acetylation levels in the coding regions of several defense genes. Together, our data demonstrate a new role for Elongator in somatic DNA demethylation/methylation and suggest a function for Elongator-mediated chromatin regulation in pathogen-induced transcriptome reprogramming.

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