Priming for enhanced ARGONAUTE2 activation accompanies induced resistance to cucumber mosaic virus in Arabidopsis thaliana

Sugihiro Ando, Michal Jaskiewicz, Sei Mochizuki, Saeko Koseki, Shuhei Miyashita, Hideki Takahashi, Uwe Conrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is a broad-spectrum disease resistance response that can be induced upon infection from pathogens or by chemical treatment, such as with benzo-(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester (BTH). SAR involves priming for more robust activation of defence genes upon pathogen attack. Whether priming for SAR would involve components of RNA silencing remained unknown. Here, we show that upon leaf infiltration of water, BTH-primed Arabidopsis thaliana plants accumulate higher amounts of mRNA of ARGONAUTE (AGO)2 and AGO3, key components of RNA silencing. The enhanced AGO2 expression is associated with prior-to-activation trimethylation of lysine 4 in histone H3 and acetylation of histone H3 in the AGO2 promoter and with induced resistance to the yellow strain of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV[Y]). The results suggest that priming A. thaliana for enhanced defence involves modification of histones in the AGO2 promoter that condition AGO2 for enhanced activation, associated with resistance to CMV(Y). Consistently, the fold-reduction in CMV(Y) coat protein accumulation by BTH pretreatment was lower in ago2 than in wild type, pointing to reduced capacity of ago2 to activate BTH-induced CMV(Y) resistance. A role of AGO2 in pathogen-induced SAR is suggested by the enhanced activation of AGO2 after infiltrating systemic leaves of plants expressing a localized hypersensitive response upon CMV(Y) infection. In addition, local inoculation of SAR-inducing Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola causes systemic priming for enhanced AGO2 expression. Together our results indicate that defence priming targets the AGO2 component of RNA silencing whose enhanced expression is likely to contribute to SAR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan


  • chromatin modification
  • cucumber mosaic virus
  • defence priming
  • histone modification
  • induced resistance
  • RNA silencing
  • systemic acquired resistance


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