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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Aphid feeding induces the relaxation of epigenetic control and the associated regulation of the defense response in Arabidopsis

Annacondia, Maria Luz; Markovic, Dimitrije; Reig-Valiente, Juan Luis; Scaltsoyiannes, Vassilis; Pieterse, Corne M. J.; Ninkovic, Velemir; Slotkin, R. Keith; Martinez, German


Environmentally induced changes in the epigenome help individuals to quickly adapt to fluctuations in the conditions of their habitats.We explored those changes in Arabidopsis thaliana plants subjected to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses, and identified transposable element (TE) activation in plants infested with the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. We performed a genome-wide analysis mRNA expression, small RNA accumulation and DNA methylationOur results demonstrate that aphid feeding induces loss of methylation of hundreds of loci, mainly TEs. This loss of methylation has the potential to regulate gene expression and we found evidence that it is involved in the control of plant immunity genes. Accordingly, mutant plants deficient in DNA and H3K9 methylation (kyp) showed increased resistance to M. persicae infestation.Collectively, our results show that changes in DNA methylation play a significant role in the regulation of the plant transcriptional response and induction of defense response against aphid feeding.


aphids; Arabidopsis; defense response; epigenetics; transcriptional regulation; transposable elements

Published in

New Phytologist
2021, Volume: 230, number: 3, pages: 1185-1200
Publisher: WILEY