Seminar: The Elongator Complex and Its Function in Plant Immunity

Dr. Zhonglin Mou, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida
Image: Zhonglin Mou, University of Florida

Image: Zhonglin Mou, University of Florida

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September 18, 2017, 3:35 PM - 4:30 PM

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Plants solely rely on innate immunity to battle against microbial invasion. The efficacy of plant immunity is tightly correlated with the kinetics and magnitude of the transcriptional changes induced by the invading pathogen. The Elongator complex was first purified as an interactor of hyperphosphorylated RNA polymerase II in yeast, and was later identified in animal and plant cells. It is composed of two copies of each of its six subunits (ELP1 to ELP6), with ELP1 and ELP2 serving as scaffolds for complex assembly, ELP3 being the catalytic subunit, and ELP4-ELP6 forming an accessory complex. Elongator plays a vital role in plant immunity. The elp2 mutant is as susceptible as npr1 to bacterial pathogens, and as coi1 and ein2 to necrotrophic fungal pathogens. Additionally, elp mutants are hypersusceptible to nonhost bacterial pathogens. Interestingly, overexpression of ELP3 and/or ELP4 in several plant species enhances resistance to multiple pathogens. Mechanistically, Elongator regulates the kinetics of pathogen-induced transcriptome reprogramming likely through maintaining histone acetylation levels, modulating the genomic DNA methylation landscape, and influencing pathogen-induced dynamic DNA methylation changes. This presentation will discuss recent advances in understanding the critical epigenetic role of Elongator in plant immune responses.

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