The relationship between transgenerational acquired resistance and global DNA methylation in Arabidopsis

Joost H. M. Stassen, Ana López, Ritushree Jain, David Pascual-Pardo, Estrella Luna Diez, Lisa M. Smith, Jurriaan Ton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
166 Downloads (Pure)


Progeny of heavily diseased plants develop transgenerational acquired resistance (TAR). In Arabidopsis, TAR can be transmitted over one stress-free generation. Although DNA methylation has been implicated in the regulation of TAR, the relationship between TAR and global DNA methylation remains unknown. Here, we characterised the methylome of TAR-expressing Arabidopsis at different generations after disease exposure. Global clustering of cytosine methylation revealed TAR-related patterns in the F3 generation, but not in the F1 generation. The majority of differentially methylated positions (DMPs) occurred at CG context in gene bodies. TAR in F3 progeny after one initial generation of disease, followed by two stress-free generations, was lower than TAR in F3 progeny after three successive generations of disease. This difference in TAR effectiveness was proportional to the intensity of differential methylation at a sub-set of cytosine positions. Comparison of TAR-related DMPs with previously characterised cytosine methylation in mutation accumulation lines revealed that ancestral disease stress preferentially acts on methylation-labile cytosine positions, but also extends to methylation-stable positions. Thus, the TAR-related impact of ancestral disease extends beyond stochastic variation in DNA methylation. Our study has shown that the Arabidopsis epigenome responds globally to disease in previous generations and we discuss its contribution to TAR.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between transgenerational acquired resistance and global DNA methylation in Arabidopsis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this