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Chromatin assembly factor CAF-1 represses priming of plant defence response genes

Nature Plants volume 1, Article number: 15127 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Plants have evolved efficient defence systems against pathogens that often rely on specific transcriptional responses. Priming is part of the defence syndrome, by establishing a hypersensitive state of defence genes such as after a first encounter with a pathogen. Because activation of defence responses has a fitness cost, priming must be tightly controlled to prevent spurious activation of defence. However, mechanisms that repress defence gene priming are poorly understood. Here, we show that the histone chaperone CAF-1 is required to establish a repressed chromatin state at defence genes. Absence of CAF-1 results in spurious activation of a salicylic acid-dependent pathogen defence response in plants grown under non-sterile conditions. Chromatin at defence response genes in CAF-1 mutants under non-inductive (sterile) conditions is marked by low nucleosome occupancy and high H3K4me3 at transcription start sites, resembling chromatin in primed wild-type plants. We conclude that CAF-1-mediated chromatin assembly prevents the establishment of a primed state that may under standard non-sterile growth conditions result in spurious activation of SA-dependent defence responses and consequential reduction of plant vigour.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by EMBO fellowship ALTF_1492-2011 to I.M., by grants to L.H. from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swedish Research Councils VR and FORMAS, by the Sixth Framework Program of the European Commission through the AGRON-OMICS Integrated Project (grant no. LSHG-CT-2006-037704 to W.G.), by the Knut-and-Alice Wallenberg foundation to L.H. and D.H., and by grant 310030B_141176 from the Swiss National Science Foundation to J.-P.M. We thank the reviewers for valuable comments that helped to improve the manuscript.

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Author notes

    • Iva Mozgová
    •  & Thomas Wildhaber

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Plant Biology, Uppsala BioCenter, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Linnean Center for Plant Biology, Uppsala SE-75007, Sweden

    • Iva Mozgová
    • , Qinsong Liu
    • , Daniel Hofius
    •  & Lars Hennig
  2. Department of Biology and Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, ETH Zurich, Zurich CH-8092, Switzerland

    • Thomas Wildhaber
    •  & Wilhelm Gruissem
  3. Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Ch. du Musée 10, Fribourg 1700, Switzerland

    • Eliane Abou-Mansour
    • , Floriane L'Haridon
    •  & Jean-Pierre Métraux

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Contributions

I.M., T.W., Q.L., E.A.-M. and F.H. performed the experiments; I.M., T.W. and L.H. analysed data; I.M., T.W., D.H., J.-P.M., W.G. and L.H. planned the experiments; and I.M., D.H., W.G. and L.H. wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lars Hennig.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2015.127

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