Epigenetic variation in Arabidopsis disease resistance

Trevor L. Stokes, Barbara N. Kunkel, Eric J. Richards

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83 Scopus citations


Plant pathogen resistance is mediated by a large repertoire of resistance (R) genes, which are often clustered in the genome and show a high degree of genetic variation. Here, we show that an Arabidopsis thaliana R-gene cluster is also subject to epigenetic variation. We describe a heritable but metastable epigenetic variant bal that overexpresses the R-like gene At4g16890 from a gene cluster on Chromosome 4. The bal variant and Arabidopsis transgenics overexpressing the At4g16890 gene are dwarfed and constitutively activate the salicylic acid (SA)-dependent defense response pathway. Overexpression of a related R-like gene also occurs in the ssi1 (suppressor of SA insensitivity 1) background, suggesting that ssi1 is mechanistically related to bal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2002


  • Arabidopsis
  • Bal
  • Cytosine methylation
  • DDM1
  • Epigenetics
  • Resistance genes


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