A Phytophthora Effector Manipulates Host Histone Acetylation and Reprograms Defense Gene Expression to Promote Infection
Plants have developed diverse molecular and cellular mechanisms to cope with a lifetime of exposure to a variety of pathogens. Host transcriptional reprogramming is a central part of plant defense upon pathogen recognition. Recent studies link DNA methylation and demethylation as well as chromatin remodeling by posttranslational histone modifications, including acetylation, methylation, and ubiquitination, to changes in the expression levels of defense genes upon pathogen challenge. Remarkably these inducible defense mechanisms can be primed prior to pathogen attack by epigenetic modifications and this heightened resistance state can be transmitted to subsequent generations by inheritance of these modification patterns. Beside the plant host, epigenetic mechanisms have also been implicated in virulence development of pathogens. This review highlights recent findings and insights into epigenetic mechanisms associated with interactions between plants and pathogens, in particular bacterial and fungal pathogens, and demonstrates the positive role they can have in promoting plant defense.