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Dual role of DNA methylation and gene silencing during Arabidopsis infection by tobacco rattle virus

Gene silencing (RNA dependent DNA methylation) in response to plant DNA viruses infection leads to enhanced methylation of viral DNA and changes in host chromatin compaction to fight against the infection. In the present study, we have investigated the impact of DNA methylation in the control of both, tobacco rattle virus proliferation and antiviral defence in Arabidopsis. The Caro lab collaborated with Virginia Ruiz-Ferrer and César Llave from the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CSIC, Madrid) to show that methylation and demethylation events occur in response to viral infections. DNA methylation seems to have a role in controlling viral proliferation, while demethylation could lead to disease resistance gene cluster activation or derepression by removing methylation from the transposible elements located in their promoters. Our findings provide new insights into the regulatory roles of epigenetic silencing in compatible viral infections, and alert from potential drawbacks when TRV is used as a vector for functional genomics and genome engineering.

Original Paper:

Diezma‐Navas, L., Pérez‐González, A., Artaza, H., Alonso, L., Caro, E., Llave, C., Ruiz‐Ferrer, V. 2019. Crosstalk between epigenetic silencing and infection by tobacco rattle virus in Arabidopsis. Molecular Plant Pathology 20, 1439–1452. DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12850

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