J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2021, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (4): 691-706.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13037

Special Issue: Development Abiotic stress Epigenetics Genome editing Plant-biotic interaction

• Cell and Developmental Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Roles of DEMETER in regulating DNA methylation in vegetative tissues and pathogen resistance

Wenjie Zeng1,2†, Huan Huang1†, Xueqiang Lin1,2, Chen Zhu1, Ken‐ichi Kosami1,3, Chaofeng Huang1, Huiming Zhang1, Cheng‐Guo Duan1, Jian‐Kang Zhu1,4* and Daisuke Miki1*   

  1. 1Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology and Center of Excellence for Molecular Plant Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 210602, China
    2University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201602, China
    3Fruit Tree Research Center, Ehime Research Institute of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ehime 7910112, Japan
    4Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA

    These authors equally contributed to this work.
    *Correspondences: Jian‐Kang Zhu (jkzhu@psc.ac.cn); Daisuke Miki (daisukemiki@psc.ac.cn, Dr. Miki is responsible for the distribution of the materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2020-06-13 Accepted:2020-11-03 Online:2020-11-25 Published:2021-04-01

Abstract: DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark important for genome stability and gene expression. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the 5‐methylcytosine DNA glycosylase/demethylase DEMETER (DME) controls active DNA demethylation during the reproductive stage; however, the lethality of loss‐of‐function dme mutations has made it difficult to assess DME function in vegetative tissues. Here, we edited DME using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) /CRISPR‐associated protein 9 and created three weak dme mutants that produced a few viable seeds. We also performed central cell‐specific complementation in a strong dme mutant and combined this line with mutations in the other three Arabidopsis demethylase genes to generate the dme ros1 dml2 dml3 (drdd) quadruple mutant. A DNA methylome analysis showed that DME is required for DNA demethylation at hundreds of genomic regions in vegetative tissues. A transcriptome analysis of the drdd mutant revealed that DME and the other three demethylases are important for plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses in vegetative tissues. Despite the limited role of DME in regulating DNA methylation in vegetative tissues, the dme mutants showed increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal pathogens. Our study highlights the important functions of DME in vegetative tissues and provides valuable genetic tools for future investigations of DNA demethylation in plants.

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