Plant NLR-type receptors serve as sensitive triggers of host immunity. Their expression has to be well-balanced, due to their interference with various cellular processes and dose-dependency of their defense-inducing activity. A genetic “arms race” with fast-evolving pathogenic microbes requires plants to constantly innovate their NLR repertoires. We previously showed that insertion of the COPIA-R7 retrotransposon into RPP7 co-opted the epigenetic transposon silencing signal H3K9me2 to a new function promoting expression of this Arabidopsis thaliana NLR gene. Recruitment of the histone binding protein EDM2 to COPIA-R7-associated H3K9me2 is required for optimal expression of RPP7. By profiling of genome-wide effects of EDM2, we now uncovered additional examples illustrating effects of transposons on NLR gene expression, strongly suggesting that these mobile elements can play critical roles in the rapid evolution of plant NLR genes by providing the “raw material” for gene expression mechanisms. We further found EDM2 to have a global role in NLR expression control. Besides serving as a positive regulator of RPP7 and a small number of other NLR genes, EDM2 acts as a suppressor of a multitude of additional NLR genes. We speculate that the dual functionality of EDM2 in NLR expression control arose from the need to compensate for fitness penalties caused by high expression of some NLR genes by suppression of others. Moreover, we are providing new insights into functional relationships of EDM2 with its interaction partner, the RNA binding protein EDM3/AIPP1, and its target gene IBM1, encoding an H3K9-demethylase.
We previously found the Arabidopsis thaliana PHD-finger protein EDM2 to serve as a chromatin-associated factor controlling expression of the NLR-type immune receptor gene RPP7. EDM2 binds to the transposon-silencing signal H3K9me2 and affects levels of this epigenetic mark at various loci. By genome-wide profiling of transcript- and H3K9me2-levels we now found EDM2 to have a broader role in controlling NLR gene expression. In order to mitigate fitness costs caused by its promoting effects on RPP7 expression and that of several other NLR genes, EDM2 seems to suppress expression of many additional members of this gene family. This observation is in line with multiple reports demonstrating the need for balanced expression of NLRs, which can substantially reduce overall plant fitness, but need to be present at certain minimal levels to confer sufficient immune protection. Our previous results demonstrated that the influence of EDM2 on RPP7 expression was co-opted to this immune receptor gene by the insertion of an EDM2-controlled transposon. Here, we are providing additional examples for transposon-associated effects on NLR gene expression, suggesting that these mobile elements play an important role for NLR genes by equipping members of this rapidly evolving gene family with regulatory mechanisms needed for balanced expression.
Citation: Lai Y, Lu XM, Daron J, Pan S, Wang J, Wang W, et al. (2020) The Arabidopsis PHD-finger protein EDM2 has multiple roles in balancing NLR immune receptor gene expression. PLoS Genet 16(9): e1008993. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008993
Editor: Gitta Coaker, University of California Davis, UNITED STATES
Received: September 26, 2019; Accepted: July 14, 2020; Published: September 14, 2020
Copyright: © 2020 Lai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: Sequence data from this article can be found through TAIR (http://www.arabidopsis.org) under the following accession numbers: EDM2 (AT5G55390), RPP7 (AT1G58602), RPP4 (AT4G16860), IBM1 (AT3G07610), ACT2 (AT3G18780), ACT7 (AT5G09810), ACT8 (AT1G49240) and TUB6 (AT5G12250). All ChIP-seq and RNA-seq files are available from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database (accession number GSE108487).
Funding: This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) grants (MCB-1330905 and IOS-1457329 to T.E.). YL received additional support from the China Scholarship Council. JD was supported by the Fondation pour la recherche Médicale (FRM, ARF20170938823) as well as by the Marie-Curie EU Horizon 2020 Marie-Skłodowska-Curie research and innovation program grant METHYVIREVOL (Contract number 800489). The Orbitrap Fusion mass spectrometer used in this work was supported by the NIH shared instrumentation grant S10 OD010669. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Plant NLR (nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat) genes encode sensitive immune receptors that can mediate specific recognition of microbial pathogens [1, 2]. Upon direct or indirect interactions with pathogen avirulence (AVR) gene products, these receptors induce a set of strong defense reactions, such as the hypersensitive response (HR), a form of local programmed cell death. A genetic “arms race” with fast-evolving pathogenic microbes requires plants to constantly innovate their NLR repertoires enabling them to maintain the capacity to recognize their microbial foes. Proper homeostasis of NLR activity is critical for their function [2, 3] and NLR expression is subject to strict regulation . The ability of NLRs to trigger immunity is dependent on their dose [5, 6], while overexpression of NLR genes can result in autoimmunity and fitness penalties, such as reduced growth and impaired development of reproductive tissues [7, 8]. Various strategies have been proposed to mitigate the trade-off between NLR activity and fitness . These include limiting expression of these immune receptors to certain times and tissues [9, 10] as well as tight genetic linkage to loci preventing their inadvertent activity [9, 11, 12]. Furthermore, in several plant species a micro-RNA-based network seems to prevent intolerably high levels of NLR expression [4, 13]. Nonetheless, due to continuous background activity of these immune receptors, a minimal fitness penalty seems unavoidable. Clearly, plants must be under strong selective pressures to evolve mechanisms enabling them to maximize their defense capacity, while limiting negative impact on their fitness. As a result, multiple regulatory steps affecting transcription as well as co/post-transcriptional processing and transcript turn-over strictly regulate levels of NLR transcripts . However, evolutionary mechanisms enabling plants to rapidly evolve such mechanisms of tight NLR expression control are poorly understood.
We previously reported on the Arabidopsis thaliana ENHANCED DOWNY MILDEW 2 (EDM2) gene, which is required for proper expression and function of RPP7, an NLR gene mediating strong resistance against the Hiks1 isolate of the biotrophic oomycete Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa; causal agent of Arabidopsis downy mildew) . EDM2 encodes a nuclear protein featuring 2 ½ repeats of an atypical PHD finger motif, several acidic domains, a plant G gamma-like-related (PGR) domain, an N6-adenine methyltransferase-like domain conserved in EDM2-like plant proteins (ELP domain) and a proline-rich C-terminal region [14–16]. EDM2 positively controls levels of RPP7-coding transcripts, which correlate with levels of immunity mediated by this NLR gene [14, 17, 18]. We also reported the identification of EDM2-interacting proteins, which include EMSY-like nucleosome remodeling factors and the WNK8 protein kinase [15, 17]. Besides this EDM2 has been shown to interact with the RNA binding proteins ASI1/IBM2 and EDM3/AIPP1 [19, 20]. We further found that EDM2 controls silencing of some transposable elements (TEs) by modulating levels of di-methylated lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3K9me2), a ubiquitous TE silencing signal in plants . Besides being compromised in RPP7-mediated immunity, mutants of EDM2 exhibit several developmental phenotypes [15, 22], including retarded growth and abnormally shaped leaves, reminiscent of cpr or cim mutants [23, 24], which exhibit constitutively activated immunity. Trans-generational variability and instability of such phenotypes  suggested roles of EDM2 in epigenetic processes.
EDM2 affects levels of RPP7-coding transcripts by controlling alternative polyadenylation . It promotes high levels of H3K9me2 at a TE-associated proximal polyadenylation site in the first RPP7 intron, binds to H3K9me2-marked chromatin at this proximal polyadenylation site and suppresses its use, thereby promoting high levels of RPP7 transcripts that encode the full-length NLR protein. Loss of EDM2 function leads to pronounced accumulation of the alternative, non-coding ECL (exon 1-containing 5’ LTR terminated) RPP7 transcript, which is terminated/polyadenylated at the 5’ LTR of a retrotransposon inserted in the 1st RPP7 intron. We further showed this EDM2- and H3K9me2-dependent alternative polyadenylation mechanism to be responsive to Hpa recognition and to dynamically adjust RPP7 expression levels during the induction of immune responses.
Like H3K9me2, methylation of the DNA base cytosine at position 5 (5mC) is involved in the silencing of TEs. In plants, 5mC occurs at symmetrical GC and CHG motifs or asymmetrical CHH sites (H = any nucleobase, except G). While de novo cytosine methylation seems globally controlled in Arabidopsis by the RNA-directed DNA methylation pathway [25, 26], maintenance methylation of CHH and CHG sites is linked to H3K9me2 via CMT2 and CMT3, two cytosine methyltransferases which can bind to H3K9me2 [27, 28]. EDM2 also affects CHG methylation (5mCHG) [16, 21]. However, at RPP7 and several TEs we found the effect of EDM2 on H3K9me2 to be substantially more pronounced compared to its effect on 5mCHG [18, 21]. We further found the directionality of EDM2-mediated changes of H3K9me2 and 5mCHG levels to depend on the local DNA sequence and/or chromatin context. For example, EDM2 has a suppressive effect on these marks at the COPIA4 retrotransposon, while it promotes high levels of both silencing marks at the DNA transposon Mu1 .
Genome-wide profiling in Arabidopsis by bisulfite-sequencing showed EDM2 to globally suppress 5mCHG in the bodies of hundreds of genes associated with heterochromatic repeat and TE sequences, thereby preventing these genes from being silenced by the spread of silencing marks . Critical for this function appears to be the H3K9 demethylase IBM1, the expression of which is controlled by EDM2. Similar to its effect on RPP7, EDM2 binds to a heterochromatic region in a long IBM1 intron where it suppresses premature transcript polyadenylation/termination, thereby promoting the synthesis of full length IBM1 mRNAs . Besides RPP7 and IBM1, mRNA-seq analysis identified 55 Arabidopsis genes possibly regulated by EDM2-mediated suppression of proximal polyadenylation at heterochromatic introns. In addition to RPP7, only one NLR gene, RRS1, is present in this set of putative EDM2 targets .
In the current study, we profiled in edm2 mutant plants transcripts, and H3K9me2 by RNA-seq and ChIP-seq, respectively, to expand our understanding of genome-wide roles of EDM2 in Arabidopsis. We observed effects of EDM2 on H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels of at least 59 NLR genes. In most cases, EDM2 is suppressing their expression, while it promotes expression of only a small number of NLR genes. Thus, EDM2 appears to be a global regulator of NLR genes, balancing the expression of members of this gene family by prioritizing some family members at the expense of others.
Our results further indicate a major role of EDM2 in the regulation of TEs, as it affects H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels of at over 2,000 TE loci. By ChIP-seq we identified multiple cases where binding of an epitope-tagged EDM2 version is centered on a TE immediately adjacent to or residing within an NLR gene. We found EDM2 to influence expression of the NLR gene RPP4 in a manner similar to RPP7, as this PHD finger protein binds to a TE closely associated with RPP4 and promotes the synthesis of full-length RPP4 transcripts. Besides RPP7 and RPP4 we provide additional examples for TE-linked effects on NLR expression suggesting that TE insertions have repeatedly recruited regulatory mechanisms into the context of Arabidopsis NLR genes. Together with other recent reports [29–31], our data strongly support that TEs can play a major role in NLR evolution by providing the “raw material” for new gene regulatory mechanisms. Consistent with this view, we observed a statistically significant association of TEs with NLR loci in the Arabidopsis genome. This important function, however, is not limited to EDM2-controlled NLRs, as both EDM2-dependent and EDM2-independent NLRs are significantly associated with transposons.
Genome-wide profiling of EDM2-mediated effects on H3K9me2 and transcripts
We profiled H3K9me2 by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-seq in the edm2-2 mutant and its parental wild type accession Col-0 (WT) using an anti-histone H3K9me2 antibody. To evaluate the quality of our data, we also performed ChIP-seq with input DNA (sonicated chromatin) and anti-histone H3 C-terminal (H3C) antibody-immunoprecipitated DNA from edm2-2 and WT, respectively. For all types of ChIP-seq libraries two independent replicates were sequenced.
As shown in S1 Fig, levels of H3C and input chromatin are consistently low and no peaks were detected for these tracks. High levels of Spearman correlation were observed for each pair of ChIP-seq replicates (R = 0.982 for WT libraries and R = 0.979 for edm2-2 libraries, S2 Fig). Taken together, these results indicate that our ChIP-seq data are highly reproducible with minimal background noise.
For each annotated transcriptional unit (Araport11), relative H3K9me2 levels were calculated and compared between edm2-2 and WT. For 2,082 genes and 1,736 TEs we observed significant H3K9 methylation differences between edm2 and WT (S1 and S2 Tables). A majority of the genes that showed significant changes exhibit H3K9 hyper-dimethylation in edm2-2 relative to WT (97.84%) indicating a major role of EDM2 in genome-wide suppression of H3K9me2 (Fig 1A), whereas a smaller number of significant changes represent H3K9 hypo-dimethylation in edm2 relative to WT (Fig 1A and S1 Table). This is consistent with previous results on the effects of EDM2 on CHG methylation , a mark which is often directly correlated with H3K9me2 .
(A) Box plot showing normalized H3K9me2 levels relative to histone H3 distribution for significantly affected genes (P adjust value < 0.05) in each replicated of WT ChIP-seq sample (red boxes) and edm2-2 ChIP-seq sample (turquoise boxes). Statistical significance of differences between WT and edm2-2 is determined using combined gene counts of replicates and by Wilcoxon signed rank test. ***: P-value < 2.2e-16. (B) The minus-average (MA) plot representing differential expressed genes in edm2/WT. Displayed are fold change values (y-axis) against expression levels (x-axis). Genes exhibiting significant differential expression changes between WT and edm2-2 (P adjust value < 0.05) are colored in red and blue, where red marked edm2-2 up-regulated genes and blue marked the edm2-2 down-regulated genes. NLR genes with P adjust value < 0.05 are represented by black triangles. ACTIN2 (ACT2), ACTIN7 (ACT7), ACTIN8 (ACT8) and TUBULIN6 (TUB6) are used as benchmarks for differential expression analysis and are labeled in green. (C and D) Significantly enriched GO (Gene Ontology) terms with P < 0.05 for the top 10 categories of edm2-2 up-regulated genes (C) and down-regulated genes (D). (E) Scatterplot showing the correlation of transcript levels versus H3K9me2 levels of genes differentially expressed and H3K9-dimethylated in edm2-2 compared to WT.
To investigate the genome-wide impact of EDM2 at the transcript level, we compared RNA-seq-generated transcript profiles between edm2-2 and WT plants. Reads were mapped to each annotated transcriptional unit (Araport11). High levels of Spearman correlation were observed between biological replicates (S2 Fig). Relative transcript levels (normalized per million mapped reads) reflecting the abundance of all reads mapping to the respective transcriptional units were calculated and compared between edm2-2 and WT. We refer to genes showing significant differences in transcript levels in these comparisons as differentially expressed and either up-regulated or down-regulated. Further below we are discussing alternative polyadenylation as a mechanism affecting expression of a small subset of EDM2-controlled genes. For these genes differences in transcript levels between edm2-2 and WT plants are mainly limited to certain sub-regions (e.g. 3’ ends) not necessarily resulting in significant differences when entire transcriptional units are considered. Thus, some of them are not included in the sets of up- or down-regulated genes we are discussing here.
A total of 4,508 protein-encoding genes exhibited significant differential expression between edm2-2 and WT including 2,532 genes (56%) that were up-regulated and 1,976 genes (44%) that were down-regulated in edm2-2 relative to WT (Fig 1B and S3 Table). Gene ontology analysis showed that in terms of biological processes, genes with higher transcript levels in edm2-2 (genes that are suppressed by EDM2) are highly significantly associated with diverse stress responses, including defense responses and biotic stimuli (Fig 1C), while genes exhibiting reduced transcript levels in this mutant (genes that are positively regulated by EDM2) are strongly associated with abiotic stress responses and cellular or metabolic processes (Fig 1D).
Of 369 genes that exhibit significant changes in both H3K9me2 and transcript levels in edm2-2 compared to WT, 323 are down-regulated in edm2-2 and show at the same time higher H3K9me2 levels in this mutant (Fig 1E). This suggests a causal connection between both effects supporting that EDM2 promotes transcription of these genes by suppressing their H3K9me2. Gene ontology analysis showed that in terms of biological processes, these 323 genes are strongly enriched for diverse metabolic functions (S3 Fig).
Our H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq results are consistent with our previous findings at the characterized EDM2 target locus RPP7/COPIA-R7 (Fig 2A and S4 Fig) . Levels of H3K9me2 are high in WT at COPIA-R7 and the RPP7 intron 1 segment upstream of this TE, which templates for the non-coding ECL transcript. H3K9me2 levels in this area, however, are reduced in edm2-2 plants. Furthermore, in edm2-2 transcripts representing the ECL-templating area of RPP7 (comprising the first RPP7 exon and parts of its first intron) are highly expressed, while transcripts downstream of COPIA-R7, including the entire RPP7 coding sequence, are strongly reduced. These results confirm our previously postulated role of EDM2 in promoting the synthesis of full-length RPP7 transcripts and suppressing proximal polyadenylation/transcript termination at the 5’LTR of COPIA-R7.
(A and B) Genome browser view of H3K9me2 ChIP-seq, RNA-seq and HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq at RPP7 (A) and RPP4 (B). Y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads). Schematic representations of the RPP7 and RPP4 loci with individual RNA transcript isoforms are shown at the bottom. Transposons are represented by grey boxes framed in red and genic exons by black-framed grey boxes. ECL: “Exon 1-containing 5’LTR terminated” non-coding transcript resulting from proximal polyadenylation/transcript termination at RPP7. Red vertical arrows indicate the polyadenylation sites and horizontal black arrows indicate transcription start sites.
EDM2 has a broad role in suppressing NLR transcript levels
Our H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq results revealed several interesting trends. Firstly, a large set of NLR genes (including RPP7) is affected by EDM2. In edm2-2 compared to WT a total of 59 of 165 annotated Arabidopsis NLR loci show a significant change of their H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels (S4A and S4B Table). This includes the known functional R gene RPP4, which like RPP7 exhibits H3K9 hypo-dimethylation and a mild (but significant) reduction of transcript levels in edm2-2 (Fig 2B and S5 Fig). RPP4 is a member of the Col-0 RPP5 NLR cluster . Another member of this cluster, AT4G16900, also belongs to the set of 59 EDM2-affected NLR genes.
As shown in Fig 3A, the sets of all genes that are significantly up- or down-regulated in edm2-2 compared to WT are nearly equally large with 56% up-regulated genes and 44% down-regulated genes in this mutant. This general trend also applies to most functional categories of differentially expressed genes (Fig 3A). However, the role of EDM2 is significantly shifted towards a broad function in suppression of NLR gene expression, as the majority of differentially expressed NLR genes (78%) are up-regulated, while only 22% are down-regulated in edm2-2 compared to WT (Fig 3A and 3B). Overexpression of NLRs is known to result in constitutive activation of defense responses [4, 7, 8]. Consistent with this, we previously found edm2 mutant plants to exhibit moderately elevated levels of basal resistance against the virulent isolate Noco2 of the pathogenic oomycete Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis [15, 17]. We also observed edm2 mutants to show enhanced resistance against the virulent DC3000 strain of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae (Fig 3C). As a likely consequence of the collective over-expression of numerous NLR genes in edm2-2, the majority of EDM2-affected genes annotated as defense-associated are also up-regulated in edm2-2 compared to WT (Fig 3A). These include genes of key plant immune regulators, such as many WRKY and ERF transcription factors (S4C and S4D Table). As overexpression of NLR genes is also known to reduce fitness and to impair development of plants [4, 7, 8], the stunted nature and morphological abnormalities of edm2 mutants  are also likely, at least partially, a consequence of the collective up-regulation of NLR transcripts in this mutant.
A. Distribution of all genes, defense genes, NLR genes and genes of several other functional categories (defined by enriched GO terms) that show significant transcript level changes in edm2-2 compared to WT. Besides defense genes and NLRs, only non defense-associated categories with at least 130 genes differentially expressed in edm2-2 compared to WT were considered. χ2 test of independence was performed to detect significant differences between actual and expected equal distribution (50% up-regulated and 50% down-regulated genes). ***: P-value <0.001. B. Transcript level changes of EDM2-affected NLR genes. Only NLR genes with significant transcript level differences between edm2-2 and WT are included. C. Defense phenotype of edm2 mutants infected with Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pst DC3000). Bacterial multiplication was monitored at 3 hrs(0), 2 days post inoculation (dpi) and 3 dpi with a 2 ×108 cfu/mL bacterial suspension. Error bars represent SEM for three biological replicates. fls2 (SALK_141277) seedlings were used as a susceptible control. Statistical significance was determined by Student’s t-tests. *: P-value <0.05. **: P-value <0.01.
Collectively our observations show that EDM2 plays a role in balancing transcript levels of NLRs. In the case of RPP7 and RPP4, as well as several others, it seems to promote their expression to levels required for full pathogen resistance (see below), while in most other cases, EDM2 may limit their expression to levels that are non-detrimental for proper plant development and fitness, thereby serving as a suppressor of constitutive defense activation.
EDM2 affects over 2,000 TEs
Our ChIP-seq data further indicate that EDM2 affects H3K9me2 levels of 1,736 TEs (out of 31,219 analyzed TEs; S2 Table). Of these, 1,124 TEs exhibit higher H3K9me2 levels in edm2-2 compared to WT, while 612 TEs show the opposite behavior. The vast majority of EDM2-affected TEs are retrotransposons, such as Gypsy (63.94%), Copia (7.86%) or non-LTR/LINE (3.65%) elements (Fig 4A). Although a much smaller number of TEs showed significant changes in transcript levels (241 up-regulated and 243 down-regulated in edm2-2; Fig 4B and S5 Table), we still observed that the majority of EDM2-controlled TEs are retrotransposons (Gypsy (31.99%), Copia (23.31%) and non-LTR/LINE (4.61%) elements). Taken together, we observed regulatory effects of EDM2 on H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels of a total of 2,144 TEs.
(A and B) Pie charts representing types of TEs differentially affected by EDM2 (edm2-2 vs. WT) in H3K9me2 ChIP-seq (A) or RNA-seq data (B) sets. (C) Chromosomal locations of TEs significantly affected by EDM2 in H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and/or RNA-seq data. The chromosome map tool (https://www.arabidopsis.org/jsp/ChromosomeMap/tool.jsp) was used to define the locations of TEs. Vertical yellow lines represent individual TEs. Horizontal bars mark centromeric and pericentromeric heterochromatic areas. (D and E) Proportion of EDM2-controlled TEs compared to all TEs located either in the chromosomal arms (D) or pericentromeric regions (E). Statistical significance was determined by Fisher exact test. *: P-value <0.05. **: P-value <0.01. ***: P-value <0.001.
As shown in Fig 4C, the majority of all 2,144 EDM2-controlled TEs are located in the pericentromeric regions. Furthermore, EDM2 has a clear preference for Copia- and Gypsy retrotransposons. In comparison to all TEs located either in the chromosomal arms or pericentromeric regions, Copia and Gypsy TEs are significantly enriched in the set of TEs affected by EDM2 in their transcript and H3K9me2 levels (Fig 4D and 4E). Taken together, our results highlight a major role of EDM2 in controlling retrotransposons, especially for Copia and Gypsy TEs localized in chromosomal arms and pericentromeric regions.
Several NLR genes and TEs are direct in vivo targets of EDM2
Previous studies identified RPP7 and IBM1 as direct EDM2 targets [16, 18]. To identify additional direct EDM2 targets, we performed ChIP-seq with a transgenic edm2-2 complementation line expressing cDNA-encoded EDM2 fused to the HA epitope-tag at its N-terminus and driven by the native EDM2 promoter (E2pro:HA-E2c). RPP7-mediated resistance against HpaHiks1 and wild-type RPP7 mRNA levels are restored in this line . RNA-seq with this line also confirmed that near wild type transcript levels are restored at RPP7 and RPP4 as well as other loci of interest for this study (S4 and S5 Figs). Specificity of our ChIP procedure for HA-EDM2 was validated by mass-spectroscopy (S6 Fig). By mapping unique reads to transcribed units we observed significant levels of association of HA-EDM2 with 32 genes (S6A Table). Besides RPP7, genes directly targeted by HA-EDM2 include the two Col-0 RPP5 NLR cluster members RPP4 and AT4G16900 and several loci within the RPP7 NLR cluster (Fig 2 and S6 Table) as well as the EDM2 locus itself (S7A Fig) . Consistent with previous observations, we also observed weak binding of HA-EDM2 to a heterochromatic region of IBM1 intron 7 (S7B Fig) .
Using non-uniquely mapped reads, we observed direct binding of HA-EDM2 to at least 46 TEs (S6B Table), including COPIA-R7 (AT1TE71775) and COPIA4 (AT4TE42860). Among those, we also observed direct association of HA-EDM2 with the retrotransposons AT1TE12295 and AT3TE06550 (S8 Fig). Similar to the situation at COPIA-R7/RPP7, these two TEs are embedded in long introns of genes (AT1G11270 and AT3G05410, respectively) and feature high levels of EDM2-dependent H3K9me2 (S2 Table). In edm2-2 the associated genes exhibit reduced levels of transcripts in exons downstream from the respective TEs, indicative of EDM2-mediated alternative polyadenylation control (S3 Table and S8 Fig), as also previously reported .
EDM2 promotes synthesis of full-length transcripts of the Col-0 RPP5 NLR cluster member RPP4
Our genome profiling data indicated effects of EDM2 on H3K9me2 and transcript levels at RPP4, an NLR gene present in the Col-0 RPP5 cluster. In addition, in E2pro:HA-E2c plants HA-EDM2 is associated with chromatin of this NLR gene and the directly adjacent COPIA4 retrotransposon (Fig 2B).
RPP4 is a functional R gene that mediates race-specific disease resistance of the Arabidopsis Col-0 accession against the Hpa isolate Emoy2 . The Col-0 RPP4 allele consists of six exons. Downstream from this NLR gene is the COPIA4 retrotransposon. By 3’RACE we found the 3’UTR of this exon to overlap with the 5’LTR of COPIA4, which harbors the most distal and several proximal alternative polyadenylation sites for RPP4 transcripts (S9 Fig). The termination of RPP4 transcripts at the 5’LTR of COPIA4 is reminiscent of the termination of ECL transcripts at RPP7/COPIA-R7, as in both cases the 5’LTR of a retrotransposon inserted into the context of an NLR gene serves as a functional polyadenylation site.
The ChIP-seq and RNA-seq results are consistent with our previous observation that in edm2 mutants, H3K9me2 levels are substantially increased and transcripts undetectable at COPIA4 . Detailed inspection of our RNA-seq data suggested the existence of at least one proximal polyadenylation site in the RPP4 3’UTR region (Fig 2B, Fig 5A and 5B and S9D Fig). In edm2-2 the presence of transcripts mapping to the RPP4 3’UTR abruptly stops in this area, while their levels are substantially reduced, but still clearly detectable, in WT. Transcripts mapping further downstream are continuously detectable throughout the 3’ portion of this exon and the entire COPIA4 region in WT, but absent in edm2-2. By qRT-PCR we confirmed that levels of transcripts representing the complete sequence of RPP4 full-length 3’UTR containing transcript, are significantly reduced in two independent edm2 mutant alleles (edm2-2 and edm2-3) compared to WT (Fig 5A and 5C). We further identified by 3’RACE multiple clustered proximal polyadenylation sites inside exon 6 and its 3’UTR region in both WT and edm2-2 transcripts (S9B and S9D Fig). S9D Fig shows that the drop of read counts aligns with the location of the sixth of eight polyadenylation sites we determined by 3’RACE. Use of this proximal polyadenylation site is clearly suppressed by EDM2 resulting in a reduction of reads uniquely mapping to the area immediately downstream from it in edm2-2 (area b stretching from polyadenylation site #6 to #8 in Fig 5B). The area immediately upstream from polyadenylation site #6 (area a, stretching from alternative polyadenylation site #5 to #6) does not exhibit a difference in read counts between WT and edm2-2 (Fig 5A and 5B).
(A) Schematic representation of RPP4 with alternative RNA transcript isoforms. The termination codon (TAG) is marked by red star. Red vertical arrows represent polyadenylation sites determined by 3’RACE. Areas a (polyadenylation site #5 - #6) and b (polyadenylation site #6 - #8) are marked by blue horizontal lines and represent regions used for read counts shown in (B). Black horizontal arrows represent PCR primers used for qRT-PCR (i and ii) in (C). Regions amplified by qPCR for each exon in (D), (E) and (F) are represented by black horizontal bars. (B) RNA-seq read counts for RPP4 exons1–6 and 3’UTR areas in WT and edm2-2. Exon1 contains 5’UTR and exon6 contains 3’UTR sequences. The coordinates for area a and b are 9488547–9488584 and 9488463–9488546, respectively. The y-axis represents normalized read counts calculated by DESeq2 in R. Error bars represent SD from three biological replicates. ***: P-adjusted value <0.001. (C) Levels of full-length 3’UTR-containing transcripts measured by qRT-PCR. Error bars represent SD from three biological replicates. Statistical significance was determined by Student’s t-tests. *: P-value <0.05. (D) Levels of H3K9me2 determined by ChIP-qPCR in WT, edm2-2 and edm2-3. H3K9me2 levels were normalized to the total histone H3 levels. ACTIN8 (ACT8) served as a control locus. Error bars represent SEM for two biological replicates each with three technical replicates. (E) Levels of H3K9me2 measured by ChIP-qPCR in WT and suvh456. H3K9me2 levels were normalized to the total histone H3 levels. Error bars represent SEM from two biological replicates each based on three technical replicates. (F) Levels of HA-EDM2 at RPP4 in E2pro:HA-E2c line. ACTIN8 (ACT8) served as a control locus. Fold enrichment values were measured by ChIP-qPCR relative to each area in WT. Error bars represent SEM from three biological replicates each based on three technical replicates. (G) Susceptibility phenotype of edm2 mutants to the Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis isolate Emoy2. Numbers of sporangiophores per cotyledons of WT, edm2-2, edm2-3 and Oy1 lines 7 days post infection (dpi) with spores of the RPP4-recognized Hpa-Emoy2. Error bars represent SEM for five biological replicates, each replicate including at least 100 cotyledons. Statistical significance was determined by Student’s t-tests. *: P-value <0.05. **: P-value <0.01.
At RPP7, enhanced levels of premature polyadenylation in edm2 mutants are causally linked to a reduction of H3K9me2 at its proximal polyadenylation site in the COPIA-R7 5’LTR . Consistent with this, our H3K9me2 ChIP-seq results suggested in edm2-2 a reduction of H3K9me2 levels over the entire RPP4 locus relative to WT (Fig 2B). Using two independent edm2 alleles we confirmed this for exons 3–6 by H3K9me2-ChIP-qPCR (Fig 5D). We also observed for RPP4 a causal relationship between H3K9me2 levels and the extent of proximal polyadenylation. In the H3K9-methylase deficient suvh456 triple mutant , where H3K9me2 is nearly undetectable at RPP4 exons 3–6 (Fig 5E), levels of full-length 3’UTR containing transcripts are clearly reduced compared to WT and similar to edm2 mutants (Fig 5C).
We further confirmed binding of HA-EDM2 to the RPP4 region using ChIP-qPCR in the E2pro:HA-E2c line. As implied by our ChIP-seq data (Fig 2B), we detected clear enrichment of HA-EDM2-associated chromatin in several areas of RPP4, including exon 3–6 and COPIA4 (Fig 5F).
Taken together our results show that EDM2 and TE-associated H3K9me2 have partially similar roles in expression control of RPP4 and RPP7. EDM2 binds to H3K9me2-marked chromatin at COPIA4. H3K9me2 and binding of EDM2 seem to have spread from COPIA4 into adjacent genic regions of RPP4, where they suppress proximal transcript polyadenylation, while promoting the production of full-length transcripts. Thus, the previously demonstrated recruitment of EDM2 into the regulatory context of RPP7 polyadenylation control by insertion of a TE  is unlikely to be a unique case, highlighting the potential for related molecular processes to provide new regulatory mechanisms to NLR genes. Our results defined distinct proximal alternative polyadenylation sites in the overlap between RPP4 and COPIA4, demonstrated EDM2/H3K9me2-dependent differential use of at least one of them and provided evidence for direct binding of EDM2 to this area.
EDM2-deficient Arabidopsis lines exhibit reduced RPP4-mediated immunity
Our RNA-seq data suggested the impact of EDM2 on RPP4 expression to be complex. Besides suppressing proximal polyadenylation in the 3’UTR, EDM2 seems to have additional effects on RPP4 transcripts. Our RNA-seq data revealed a significant reduction of RPP4 exon 1 transcript levels in edm2-2 compared to WT (Figs 2B, 5A and 5B). No significant transcript level difference was observed for exons 2–6 (Fig 5B). This observation is consistent with the annotation of an alternatively initiated RPP4 transcript (TAIR10, Araport 11) bearing its transcription start site (TSS) in intron 1 slightly upstream from exon 2 (Figs 2B and 5A). Although we did not confirm this TSS, the existence of alternative TSSs directing expression of transcripts starting with exon 2 sequences is further supported by TSS-sequencing data from Kindgren et al. (S9E Fig) . The N-terminally truncated RPP4 protein predicted to be encoded by such distally initiated transcripts lacks its entire TIR domain (S9A and S9C Fig). Thus, EDM2 may promote increased expression of exon 1- containing full length-transcripts encoding RPP4 proteins with the N-terminal TIR domain. Absence of this domain may compromise the immune receptor function of RPP4. Consistent with this, we found edm2 mutants to exhibit a moderate (but significant) reduction of disease resistance in Arabidopsis cotyledons against the RPP4 cognate Hpa isolate Emoy2 (Fig 5G). Likely, this effect is directly causally linked to mis-regulation of RPP4 in edm2 mutants and not due to some unspecific (or pleiotropic) effects. This view is supported by the fact that the NLR genes RPP2A and RPP2B, which are not affected in their expression in edm2-2, remain fully functional in this mutant. The NLR pair RPP2A and RPP2B is know to mediate in Col accessions of Arabidopsis immunity against the Hpa isolate Cala2 . In our RNA-seq experiments we did not observe for RPP2A and RPP2B significant differences of reads mapped to their transcriptional units between edm2-2 and Col-0. Neither does close inspection of genome browser views of RNA-seq data for both genes hint at minor local differences in RNA expression/processing (S9F and S9G Fig). Consequently, resistance against HpaCala2 has been reported not to be affected in edm2 mutant plants .
EDM2 affects additional members of the Col-0 RPP5, RPP7 and RPP1 NLR clusters
Besides RPP4, another member of the Col-0 RPP5 NLR cluster AT4G16900 is also a direct target of HA-EDM2 (Fig 6A, S6 Table and S10 Fig). ChIP-qPCR experiments (Fig 6B) with E2pro:HA-E2c plants confirmed binding of HA-EDM2 to chromatin of the 3’ portion of this NLR gene and the Gypsy TE AT4TE42950 overlapping with its last four exons. While we did not observe a significant effect of EDM2 on the total transcript levels at AT4G16900, levels of H3K9me2 appear altered at this locus in edm2 plants (Fig 6A). However, unlike the situation at RPP7 and RPP4, H3K9me2 levels at AT4G16900 are slightly higher in edm2 mutants compared to WT (Fig 6A and 6C, S1 Table). As we previously observed for the RPP4-associated TE COPIA4, H3K9me2 levels in the AT4G16900-associated TE, AT4TE42950, are elevated in edm2 plants (Fig 6A and S2 Table). While the transcript levels over the entire length of this Gypsy transposon are not significantly changed, we observed in edm2 a substantial reduction in transcript levels of its polyprotein encoding region (AT4G16910; Log2 fold transcript change = -6.098, adjusted p-value = 4.92E-05; Fig 6A). Thus, despite the fact that our experiments did not uncover a significant effect on transcripts in the TE-associated NLR gene AT4G16900, EDM2 has a local impact on H3K9me2 levels (affecting both the NLR gene and TE) and transcripts of the polyprotein-encoding region of this TE.
(A) Genome browser view of normalized H3K9me2 ChIP-seq, RNA-seq and HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq at the AT4G16900 locus. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads). Schematic representations of the AT4G16900 locus with individual RNA transcript isoforms are shown in the top. The stop codon (TAA) is marked by a red star. Regions amplified by qPCR for each exons are represented by horizontal bars. (B) Levels of HA-EDM2 at AT4G16900 in the E2pro:HA-E2c line. ACTIN8 (ACT8) served as a control locus. Fold enrichment values were measured by ChIP-qPCR relative to each respective area in WT. Error bars represent SEM for two biological replicates with three technical replicates. Statistical significance was determined by Student’s t-tests. *: P-value <0.05. (C) Levels of H3K9me2 determined by ChIP-qPCR in WT, edm2-2 and edm2-3. H3K9me2 levels were normalized to the total histone H3 levels. ACTIN8 (ACT8) served as a control locus. Error bars represent SEM for two biological replicates with three technical replicates.
Besides RPP4, AT4G16900 and RPP7, our genome profiling analysis suggested effects of EDM2 on H3K9me2- and/or transcript levels of 56 additional NLR genes (S4 Table). These include four additional members of the RPP7 cluster (AT1G58390, AT1G58400, AT1G58410 and AT1G59124; Fig 7), two additional members of the Col-0 RPP5 cluster (AT4G16920 and AT4G16960) and one member of RPP1 cluster (AT3G44400) (S4B Table). Our HA-EDM2 ChIP-seq results showed HA-EDM2 associated with all three RPP7 cluster-associated TEs. Besides RPP7 that harbors COPIA-R7, the other two members of the eight NLR gene-comprising RPP7 cluster associated with TEs are AT1G58848 and AT1G59218 (Fig 7A and S6 Table). In each of these two cases, binding of HA-EDM2 is centered on a TE (AT1G58889/AT1TE71950 and AT1G59265/AT1TE72060) immediately adjacent to the respective NLR. Additional examples of NLRs affected by EDM2 include AT3G44630 (another member of the RPP1 gene cluster) and AT5G44870 (S11 Fig), for which we also found EDM2 to be associated with TE fragments (AT3TE65615 and AT5TE65325, S11 Fig) immediately adjacent to the respective NLRs. Neither AT4G16900, nor any of the additional NLRs described in this section as potentially EDM2-controlled (AT1G58390, AT1G58400, AT1G58410, AT1G59124, AT1G58848, AT1G59218, AT3G44400, AT3G44630, AT4G16920, AT4G16960 and AT5G44870) have been reported to be functional R alleles in Col-0 and are not known to mediate disease resistance against a pathogen. Hence, we could not test if edm2 plants are compromised in the immune function of any of these NLRs.
(A) Genome browser view of normalized HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq and H3K9me2 ChIP-seq (WT and edm2-2) at the RPP7 cluster. Eight NLR genes are labeled in black; three Copia-type TEs are labeled in red. (B and C) Genome browser view of normalized RNA-seq data for AT1G58390, AT1G58400, AT1G58410 (B) and AT1G59124 (C) of the RPP7 cluster. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
TEs are tightly associated with Arabidopsis NLR loci
This study demonstrates a broad role of EDM2 in controlling silencing marks at TEs. Over 2,000 TEs, predominantly Copia and Gypsy retrotransposons, exhibit altered H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels in edm2-2 plants compared to WT. Our genome profiling analysis further uncovered effects of EDM2 on H3K9me2 and the expression of numerous Arabidopsis NLR genes. As for RPP7, the effect of EDM2 on these genes seems, at least in some cases, linked to roles of EDM2 in controlling silencing states of nearby TEs. TEs have long been suspected to be critically important for the fast evolution of structural NLR diversity by facilitating non-homologous recombination events in NLR gene clusters [39, 40]. Together with previous results [4, 18, 29–31] our new findings also suggest a broad role of TEs in equipping rapidly evolving NLR genes with regulatory mechanisms allowing for balanced and tightly controlled expression. Such roles in NLR evolution are likely not limited to TEs controlled by EDM2 and may generally apply to a wide range of active mobile elements. In this case natural selection should favor close associations between TEs or TE fragments and NLR genes. In order to examine if NLR loci generally tend to be tightly associated with TE DNA, we determined the genome-wide association between Arabidopsis NLR genes and TE location.
We found within NLR gene space, NLR genes to have an average of 236 bp more annotated TE compared to non-NLR genes (x-axis = 0 in Fig 8A). We expanded our analysis up to 1,000 bp beyond the NLR gene space in both the upstream and downstream directions and found the same relationship: NLR genes are more closely associated with DNA annotated as TEs compared to non-NLR genes (x-axis = 1–1,000 in Fig 8A). Regarding the distance to the nearest TE, we did not observe a significant difference between the 59 EDM2-controlled NLRs and the rest of 106 NLRs in the Arabidopsis genome (Fig 8B), suggesting that the close association with TEs is a general feature of NLR genes, including those controlled by EDM2. Thus, tight association with TEs is not limited to EDM2-controlled NLRs and is broadly observed for these immune receptor genes, irrespective of their dependency on EDM2. Consistent with this, we also observed effects of H3K9me2 marking non EDM2-targeted TEs on the expression of nearby NLR genes. Examples for such cases are illustrated in S12 Fig, which shows that transcript levels of two pairs of TE-associated NLRs are dependent on H3K9me2 and changed in the H3K9me2-deficient suvh456 mutant (S12 Fig).
(A) Distances outside of the annotated mRNA gene space (from transcriptional start site to polyadenylation site) of NLR genes and non-NLR genes (x-axis) are plotted against the average number of annotated TE (TE) base pairs present in the respective area (y-axis) for each group of genes. Dashed bars represent 95% confidence intervals. Statistically significant differences between NLR and non-NLR genes have been calculated using ANOVA and are for all comparisons between NLR and non-NLR genes. ***: P-value = 5.775357e-29.(B) Average distance to the nearest TE for the 59 EDM2-controlled NLRs compared with the remaining 106 annotated NLRs in the Arabidopsis genome. The black bars represent 4,405.68 bp for 59 EDM2-controlled NLRs and 3,768.04 bp for the 106 NLR genes. An unpaired t-test showed that there is no significant difference between both examined gene sets.
The histone demethylase IBM1 controls H3K9me2 levels at several direct EDM2 target loci
Previous work suggested that EDM2 indirectly affects 5mCHG levels in thousands of Arabidopsis genes by promoting proper expression of IBM1, a H3K9 demethylase, which is responsible for removing H3K9me2 and 5mCHG in genes associated with heterochromatin [41–43]. EDM2 was found to bind to a heterochromatic region within a long IBM1 intron and to promote the production of mRNAs encoding the full length IBM1 protein . Our data confirm binding of HA-EDM2 to this region (S7B Fig). However, previous genome-profiling work  also showed EDM2 to have IBM1-independent functions, as differential CHG methylated regions have been observed that are not common to mutants of both EDM2 and IBM1, respectively, and only affected in one of them. In order to examine the involvement of IBM1 in H3K9me2 regulation at loci targeted by EDM2, we performed H3K9me2 ChIP-seq with the ibm1-4 mutant (SALK_035608C). We identified 6,082 genes and 2,706 TEs with significant changes in H3K9me2 levels in ibm1-4 compared to WT (S7 and S8 Tables). While effects of IBM1 on H3K9me2 at TEs have not been reported before, its effects on this silencing mark in genes are consistent with previously published ChIP-chip data . In our and previous studies  the majority of significant changes in ibm1-4 are H3K9 hyper-dimethylation in genic regions. As anticipated, we observed a large overlap between the ibm1-4 and edm2-2 specific H3K9me2 profiles. This set of overlapping genes includes 11 NLRs (S4A and S4E Table). Unexpectedly, however, we observed an effect of IBM1 on H3K9me2 levels in multiple genes and TEs, which are directly targeted by EDM2, including 18 out of 46 HA-EDM2-associated TEs and genes such as RPP7, and EDM2 itself (Fig 2A and S7 Fig). In all these cases the effects of EDM2 and IBM1 are co-directional (S9 Table). For example, in both ibm1-4 and edm2-2 H3K9me2 levels are reduced at RPP7 and increased in both mutants at EDM2. Thus, regulatory interactions between EDM2 and IBM1 seem to be more complex than initially anticipated. EDM2 appears not to suppress TE silencing marks in genic regions solely indirectly by promoting IBM1 expression. At least in some cases IBM1-affected loci are also directly targeted by EDM2, possibly suggesting cooperative interactions of both proteins in controlling H3K9me2 levels.
Feedback mechanisms may further be responsible for reciprocal effects of IBM1 and EDM2 on each other’s H3K9me2 status and both, EDM2 and IBM1, affect H3K9me2 at numerous TE-associated NLRs (including RPP7 and the RPP5 cluster members AT4G16900 and AT4G16920, Figs 2 and 6A; S4 Table). To gain further insight regarding regulatory interactions between EDM2 and IBM1, we compared RNA-seq profiles in the edm2-2 (from this study) and ibm1-6  mutants for those 51 NLRs (S4 Table) that are differentially expressed in edm2-2. As shown in supplementary figures (S13 to S18 Figs) various different patterns can be discriminated regarding the dependency of these NLRs on EDM2 and IBM1 and the direction of their respective transcript level changes. Some NLRs are jointly transcriptionally up-regulated in both edm2 and ibm1 plants, while in many other cases effects of edm2 on NLR transcript levels are not reproduced or even reciprocal in ibm1. These observations further support that (1) EDM2 has IBM1 independent functions and (2) interactive relationships between IBM1 and EDM2 are complex and variable.
EDM2 was previously shown to be a chromatin-associated protein controlling expression of the RPP7 immune receptor and the histone H3K9 demethylase IBM1 by promoting the synthesis of full-length transcripts encoding these proteins. EDM2 has also been reported to control silencing states of some TEs, and its physical association with heterochromatic TE/repeat sequences was found to be critical for its function in RPP7/IBM1 regulation. Through regulation of IBM1, EDM2 has also been implicated in global suppression of CHG methylation in genic regions associated with heterochromatin. In this study, we expanded on previous findings by genome-wide H3K9me2 ChIP-seq, RNA-seq and HA-EDM2 ChIP-seq analysis. Our new data show that EDM2 controls genome-wide expression of NLR genes and TEs, as we observed in edm2-2 plants effects on H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels at 59 NLR genes and over 2,000 TEs.
In some cases, the involvement of EDM2 in NLR gene regulation resembles its role in controlling RPP7 expression. EDM2 is physically associated with chromatin of the Columbia RPP5 cluster members RPP4 and AT4G16900 as well as TEs directly adjacent to these NLR genes. For both RPP4 and AT4G16900, H3K9me2 seems to have spread from the adjacent TEs into genic regions of both NLRs. As with RPP7, EDM2 promotes the synthesis of full-length transcripts of RPP4 and suppresses its proximal transcript polyadenylation/termination. This effect is also dependent on high H3K9me2 levels at the respective proximal polyadenylation site.
Effects of EDM2 on RPP4 expression are complex, as we found it also to increase expression of the TIR domain-encoding exon 1 of this NLR. If this observation is related to the use of alternative transcription start-sites identified downstream from exon 1  remains to be examined. Furthermore, EDM2 was previously found to promote the alternative splicing-associated generation of RPP4-COPIA4 fusion transcripts consisting of RPP4 exon 1 and a part of COPIA4, but lacking the remaining RPP4 exons [46, 47]. Consistent with its multi-facetted role in controlling RPP4 expression, EDM2 is required for maximal function of RPP4 in mediating resistance against the H. arabidopsidis isolate Emoy2 in Arabidopsis cotyledons. Highlighting the critical importance of COPIA4 in this context, mutation of this retrotransposon by a T-DNA insertion or silencing of its expression resulted in reduced cotyledon resistance against another RPP4-recognized Hpa isolate, Emwa1 .
While EDM2 promotes expression of a small number of NLR genes (11 NLR genes including RPP7, RPP4 and At4g16900), it acts as a suppressor of a significantly larger set of NLR genes (40 NLR genes, Fig 3B). None of these EDM2-suppressed NLR genes is associated in our ChIP-seq study with EDM2-HA. Thus, contrary to RPP7, RPP4 and At4g16900, these 40 NLR genes are unlikely direct targets of EDM2. We also did not observe any common effect of EDM2 on H3K9me2 levels within the entire set of 40 suppressed NLR genes. Nor do these genes share associations with TEs (see below). Thus, mechanistic details, of the suppressive effect of EDM2 on these 40 NLR genes may vary from case to case and they are likely indirect targets of EDM2.
However, the observation that such a large number of NLR genes is suppressed by EDM2, while the sets of all genes it acts on as a positive and negative regulator are equally large, appears compelling to us. Clearly, EDM2 has evolved into a role as a broad suppressor of NLR genes in Arabidopsis. Such a role is consistent with the enhanced defense against HpaNoco2 and Pseudomonas syringae as well as reduced fitness we observed in edm2 plants, in which (compared to WT) almost four-times more NLR genes are up-regulated than down-regulated and which, therefore, likely exhibit a strong net-increase of NLR background activity. Up-regulation of NLR expression has been linked to reduced fitness and constitutive immunity in several Arabidopsis mutants before. For example, the bal mutant contains an extra copy of the NLR gene SNC1 and, consequently, exhibits elevated expression of this gene as well as substantially stunted growth, activated defense response mediated by salicylic acid and enhanced immunity against Pseudomonas syringae bacteria [7, 8]. The cpr1 mutant is deficient in an F-box protein mediating degradation of the NLRs SNC1 and RPS2. Higher levels of these NLRs are correlated with reduced growth and enhanced immunity against various pathogens in this mutant [48, 49]. Nonetheless, we cannot exclude that enhanced NLR expression in edm2-2 is a consequence of some disturbance of cellular homeostasis associated with reduced fitness and an indirect pleiotropic effect, rather than the cause of fitness costs. However, we consider this as unlikely, given that causality between NLR overexpression and reduced fitness has been established in several cases [7, 8, 48, 49].
Balancing the needs for sufficient expression of NLR immune receptors with preventing fitness penalties arising from their background activities requires sophisticated solutions for genome-wide NLR expression control. In this important function, EDM2 seems assisted by its interaction partner, the RNA binding protein EDM3. Re-analyzing transcript profiles obtained with the EDM3 mutant aipp1 , we observed very similar effects on NLR genes. While largely equal numbers of genes are up- or down-regulated in this mutant, its ratio between up-and down-regulated NLRs is even more distorted and shifted towards up-regulated NLRs than in edm2 (S19 Fig). Fifty percent of all NLRs up-regulated in edm2 are also up-regulated in aipp1 (S20A Fig). Thus, EDM2 and EDM3 have very similar roles in global NLR expression control and may cooperate to a large degree in this function.
The EDM2 and EDM3 target gene IBM1 also affects expression of large numbers of NLR genes (S20 Fig). However the numbers of NLR genes up- or down-regulated by this histone demethylase are equally large (S19 and S20 Figs) and only a small number of NLR genes up-regulated in ibm1 mutant plants are also up-regulated in the edm2 and aipp1 mutants (S20A Fig). Thus, IBM1 is unlikely to contribute to the specific role in NLR gene suppression that EDM2 and EDM3 have evolved into and its effect on NLR genes is rather a consequence of its general function as a genome-wide operating H3K9 demethylase. Consistent with this view is that unlike edm2 mutants, which are more resistant to the Pseudomonas syringae DC3000 strain, ibm1 mutants show the opposite phenotype and behave more susceptible to these virulent bacteria .
In addition to its role in controlling NLR gene expression we found EDM2 to control silencing states of a large number of transposons. Our results further show that the influence of EDM2 on the expression of some NLR genes seems recruited into the context of these genes by insertions of TEs. A large body of literature supports a critical function of TEs in the evolution of structural and functional diversity of plant NLR genes. NLR genes are one of the fastest evolving and structurally diverse gene families in plants. Their association with TEs and organization in complex gene clusters is believed to be critical for the fast pace of their structural and functional diversification [39, 51]. Frequent recombination events and other mutagenic processes at such loci followed by diversifying selection are believed to rapidly generate the structural diversity needed to match high AVR effector evolution rates in the microbial world [2, 40]. Close association of TEs with NLRs, and high enrichment of TEs in NLR clusters is often observed [52–54]. For example, both the Arabidopsis RPP5 and RPP7 clusters in the Col-0 accession contain eight closely related NLR genes and three annotated transposons [55, 56]. Taken together these observations strongly suggest that TEs can play important roles contributing to the fast pace of NLR evolution. Consistent with this view, we observed a statistically highly significant association of TEs with NLR loci in Arabidopsis. Our results on EDM2 strongly imply that, besides serving as a major driver of structural NLR diversification, TEs have a second important role in NLR evolution, by providing the raw material for gene regulatory mechanisms. It is well documented that TE insertions can recruit cis-regulatory sequences as well as epigenetic features into the context of genes [29–31, 57, 58]. Our previous  and current studies provided evidence for both. We found 5’LTR sequences of the COPIA-R7 and COPIA4 retrotransposons to serve as polyadenylation signals at RPP7 and RPP4, respectively. In both cases (and in the case of AT4G16900), transposons also seem to nucleate the formation of H3K9me2, which spreads into the neighboring genes affecting their expression. Interestingly, this heterochromatic transposon silencing signal does not silence the genes’ transcription (promoter silencing), but serve the different function to suppress proximal genic transcript polyadenylation. As we observed for RPP7, RPP4, AT4G16900, AT1G11270 and AT3G05410, EDM2-mediated effects on H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels are likely recruited by insertions of TE insertions to these sites.
Besides COPIA-R7, additional TE sequences affect the complex regulation of RPP7. Several TEs and other repeat sequences in its 5’UTR seem to attract massive cytosine methylation to a region directly upstream of the transcription start-site . However, cytosine methylation in this region is suppressed by demethylases to a level that allows for sufficient levels of transcription of this gene. Furthermore, we found the SimpleHAT DNA transposon in the distal promoter of RPP7 to provide a docking site for an unknown DNA binding activity and to serve as a pathogen-responsive cis-element . Additional examples (besides COPIA-R7 and COPIA4) illustrating the ability of TEs to equip NLR genes with regulatory mechanisms include the AtCOPIA93-derived solo LTR upstream from RPP4, which mediates pathogen-responsive transcriptional upregulation of this NLR gene , the LTR retrotransposon Renovator which is inserted upstream of the rice NLR gene Pit and provides promoter sequences directing high transcript levels of this gene , as well as the tobacco NLR gene N, which contains the miniature inverted-repeat transposable element MiS1-1, that serves as a differentially expressed alterative exon of critical importance for the function of this disease resistance gene [29, 30].
While recruitment of regulatory mechanisms by TEs is observed for many types of genes , it is likely of particular importance in the case of NLRs. Firstly, as outlined above, homeostasis of NLR gene expression is critically important. Thus, NLR genes need to be equipped with a set of mechanisms tightly controlling their base expression levels and at the same time allowing for transient expression changes if circumstances require this, such as during defense induction . Secondly, NLR evolution has to progress at an unusually fast pace, to match high evolution rates of AVR effectors in the microbial world. TEs as potential mutagens and catalysts of recombination as well as distributers of regulatory mechanisms are likely uniquely suited to promote fast NLR evolution by affecting both structure and expression of these genes. Of particular benefit for plants in this respect may be the fact that TE expression and mobilization is often inducible by pathogen infections and other stress-related stimuli [60, 61]. At least in Arabidopsis, this seems to be partially due to a transient reduction of global 5mC and H3K9me2 levels in response to defense induction [18, 62].
While our study provides examples related to EDM2-controlled NLRs, the general statistical association of TEs with NLR genes suggests that this role extends to a wide variety of different TEs. From a broader perspective, TEs are also emerging as important factors for the function and evolution of pathogen effector genes and proteins that promote virulence or are recognized as avirulence proteins by NLR receptors [63, 64]. Thus, gene-for-gene co-evolution is likely driven by similar factors in plant and pathogen genomes.
The dual nature of EDM2 functions in NLR expression control (promoting expression of some, while suppressing others) is unlikely coincidental and both functions may be causally linked. Numerous studies have implied that plants have limited tolerance for NLR expression, and that certain thresholds levels for NLR transcripts cannot be exceeded [3, 4, 65, 66]. For example, a phasi-RNA-based control system inherent to several plant species appears to restrict total levels of NLR transcripts to certain limits. Interesting in this context is that RPP7, which requires EDM2 for optimal levels of expression, causes substantial loss of fitness in Arabidopsis. Loss-of-function mutants of RPP7 are clearly more vigorous than wild type plants (Lai et al. manuscript in preparation). Based on these observations, it is tempting to speculate that the role of EDM2 in global NLR gene suppression serves the purpose to compensate for fitness penalties caused by high expression of RPP7 and possibly other NLRs, whose expression is promoted by EDM2. Cooption of EDM2 to roles in promoting expression of certain NLRs may not have been possible without suppressing at the same time expression of other members of this immune receptor gene family.
While our results provided substantial new insight into genome-wide roles of EDM2, they leave room for speculation regarding EDM2’s mechanisms of action at its target genes. We previously observed that gene regulatory roles of EDM2 are context dependent and vary from locus to locus [21, 22]. Our ChIP-seq experiments uncovered significant levels of association of HA-EDM2 with only 78 loci. The EDM2 protein seems quite unstable only accumulating to very low levels in cells (HA-EDM2 in E2pro:HA-E2c plants is undetectable by Western Blotting). Thus, in vivo-detection of this protein by ChIP appears only possible at a limited set of strong target sites. While our ChIP-seq experiments allowed us to clearly establish certain direct target sites of EDM2, we have almost certainly missed many loci bound by this protein, limiting our ability to draw conclusions about its general mechanistic roles in gene regulation. Only at a small number of loci, such as RPP7 and IBM1, such mechanistic details have been uncovered. In each of these cases, EDM2 serves as a chromatin binding protein, recruiting the RNA binding proteins ASI1/IBM2 and EDM3/AIPP1 to intronic heterochromatic regions [16, 18–20, 67, 68]. Together with additional factors, such as AIPP2, AIPP3 and AIPP4  the EDM2-containing complex controls alternative polyadenylation. While at RPP7 and IBM1, this complex promotes the synthesis of full-length transcripts, by suppressing proximal polyadenylation, the outcome at other loci may be different and affected by differences of the stoichiometry and function of the various complex components.
Most effects observed in our study are likely indirect and mediated secondarily by EDM2 controlled regulators. Some of these are mediated via the H3K9-demethylase IBM1 . Our observation that EDM2 enhances transcript levels of 323 genes by suppressing H3K9me2 (Fig 1E) is consistent with the role of EDM2 in promoting proper IBM1 expression. Besides IBM1, we also found 299 transcription factor genes to be affected by EDM2. These regulators likely cause additional indirect effects and may be responsible for many EDM2-dependent transcript level changes not associated with changes of H3K9me2 levels.
Like all other types of genes differentially expressed in edm2-2, EDM2-controlled NLR genes vary regarding changes of H3K9me2 and their dependency on IBM1 (S13–S18 Figs). Only three of them are directly bound by HA-EDM2 and only some of them are associated with EDM2-regulated TEs or affected by EDM2-mediated alternative polyadenylation. Thus, EDM2 appears to execute its important function of balancing NLR gene expression via multiple disparate processes that likely involve additional regulatory factors. Future studies will have to address mechanistic details underlying their coordinated roles and functional connections to EDM2 in NLR gene regulation.
Plant material and growth conditions
The Arabidopsis ecotype Columbia (Col-0) and ibm1-4 (SALK_035608C) were obtained from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC, Ohio State University). The edm2-2 (SALK_014520), edm2-3 (SALK_114312) , transgenic complementation lines (E2pro:HA-E2c)  and Oy1  were described previously. The Col-0 suvh4 suvh5 suvh6 triple mutant (suvh456) was kindly provided by Dr. Judith Bender (Brown University, Providence, RI). All Arabidopsis mutants used in this study are in Col-0 background. All Arabidopsis seedlings were grown on soil or half-strength Murashige and Skoog (1/2 MS) solid medium containing 1% (w/v) sucrose in a growth chamber (16-h day, 8-h night, 22°C; 100 μE m-2s-1).
RNA isolation and qRT-PCR analysis
Aerial parts of 2-week-old plants were harvested from 1/2 MS solid plates and used for total RNAs isolation. Total RNA was isolated using TRIzol reagent (Life Technologies, Invitrogen) and treated with TURBO DNA-freeTM kit (Ambion, Life Technology, Invitrogen). Reverse transcription was conducted by Maxima reverse transcriptase (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA, USA) with 100 pmol of oligo (dT)18. qRT-PCR was performed with the CFX Connect detection system (Bio-Rad) using iQ SYBR Green Supermix (Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA, USA). Actin8 was served as an internal control. All the primers used for qRT-PCR are listed in S10 Table.
H. arabidopsidis inoculation
The growth condition, propagation and application of H. arabidopsidis isolate Hpa-Emoy2 were described previously . Two-week-old seedlings were spray-inoculated with spore suspensions (3–5 × 104 spores/mL) using Preval sprayers (Preval, Coal City, IL, USA). The extent of infections was determined by counting visual sporangiophores at 7 dpi.
The 3’ RACE were carried out using the GeneRacerTM kit (Life Technologies, Invitrogen), following the manufacturer’s instruction. All primers used for RACE are listed in S10 Table.
Aerial parts of 2-week-old plants were harvested from 1/2 MS solid plates and two grams of seedlings per sample were used for Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays. ChIP was performed as descried previously  using anti-H3K9me2 (ab1220, Abcam, Cambridge, MA, USA), anti-H3 C-terminal (61277, Active Motif, Carlsbad, CA, USA) and anti-HA (AB9110, Abcam, Cambridge, MA, USA) antibodies. All the antibodies are commercially available and were previously successfully used in Arabidopsis [18, 43]. All primers used for ChIP-qPCR are listed in S10 Table.
H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and data analysis
ChIP-seq libraries were prepared using NEBNext UltraTM II DNA library prep kit for Illumina (E7645, New England Biolabs) according to the manufacturer’s instruction. Libraries were sequenced on the Illumina NextSeq500 generating 75 bp -single-end sequence reads.
For each Chip-seq library, raw reads quality was first analyzed using FastQC (https://www.bioinformatics.babraham.ac.uk/projects/fastqc/), and any base with a quality score below 25 or N was trimmed using Sickle (https://github.com/najoshi/sickle). Trimmed reads were then mapped to the A. thaliana genome (TAIR 10) using BWA 0.7.15-r1140 with mem option default parameters . See S11 Table for read statistics. Uniquely mapped reads were further filtered for calculating H3K9me2 coverage in transcripts, while unfiltered reads were used for calculating H3K9me2 coverage in transposable elements. The number of reads mapped to each transcript was determined using BEDTools v2.25.0 , and Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated between biological replicates. To compare H3K9me2 level between WT and edm2-2 samples, non-expressed transcripts with coverage value below 1 in all libraries were removed. Transcripts representing differentially methylated regions were determined using DEseq2 in R  with a P-adjusted value of 0.05 and a 1.2 fold change.
RNA-seq and data analysis
Total RNAs were isolated from two-week-old plants grown in 1/2 MS solid plates using TRIzol reagent (Life Technologies, Invitrogen). Ten micrograms of total RNA were treated with TURBO DNA-freeTM kit (Ambion, Life Technology, Invitrogen) to eliminate the genomic DNA contamination. Five micrograms of DNA-free total RNA was treated with Ribo-Zero rRNA Removal Reagents (Plant Leaf)(Epicentre, USA) to remove Ribosomal RNA. RNA-seq libraries were prepared using NEBNext UltraTM Directional RNA library prep kit for Illumina (E7420, New England Biolabs) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Libraries were sequenced on the Illumina NextSeq500 platform generating 2×75 bp pair-end sequence reads.
After sequencing, the quality of raw reads was analyzed using FastQC (https://www.bioinformatics.babraham.ac.uk/projects/fastqc/). The first 10 bases and the last base were trimmed. Contaminating adaptor reads, reads that were unpaired, bases below 25 and Ns, and reads shorter than 18 bases are also filtered using Sickle (https://github.com/najoshi/sickle). All trimmed reads were mapped to A. thaliana genome (TAIR 10) using HISAT2 v2.1.0  with a known splice site file, built from Araport annotation file v11, and strand information parameter,—rna-strandness RF. See S11 Table for mapping statistics. Uniquely mapped reads were further filtered for calculating coverage in transcripts, while unfiltered reads were used for calculating coverage in transposable elements. Coverage values for each transcript were calculated using BEDTools with–split, -D, and -S parameters . Spearman correlation coefficients between biological replicates were calculated and differentially expressed transcripts were determined using DEseq2  with a P-adjusted value of 0.05 and a 1.2 fold change. RNA-seq raw data for ibm1-6 and the corresponding WT were obtained from NCBI (GEO: GSE93024) and processed using the same parameters described above.
Genome browser tracks
For genome browser tracks, read coverage per nucleotide is calculated using BEDTools. Coverage values were then normalized per million mapped reads. Genome tracks were displayed in IGV (Integrative Genome Viewer) . For HA-tagged EDM2 samples, signals from biological replicates were first combined, and background signal measured by input sample analysis was subtracted from edm2-2 and WT samples. To visualize HA-EDM2 associated areas, signals from WT were further subtracted from edm2-2 signals. Genome browser tracks for suvh456 RNA-seq data were obtained from NCBI (GEO: GSE111609) .
Statistical analysis of TE distribution and TE NLR associations
The proportion of TE distribution was calculated based on the ratio of TE family size divided by the total size of TEs present in each category. Significant differences between the proportion of EDM2-controlled TEs and the proportion of TEs within the chromosome arms or pericentromeric regions was determined using annotation from Kawabe et al.  and the Fisher exact test. In order to correctly use the Fisher exact test, we randomly distributed an equal number of TEs 1,000 times within either the chromosome arms or pericentromeric regions and reported the average P-value for all re-sampling in Fig 4D and 4E. 165 NLR genes and non- NLR genes (28,610) are from the Arabidopsis TAIR10 annotation. Using bedmap, we calculated the cumulative length of TE annotation (from TAIR10) present in the surrounding area of the genic mRNA from 0 to 1,000 bp with a step of 100 bp. Statistical significance was tested using an ANOVA test by randomly re-sampling 1,000 time 165 non- NLR genes and reported the average P-value.
Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (Pst DC3000) inoculation
Bacterial growth and inoculation were performed as previously described . Two-week-old plants were sprayed with Pst DC3000 suspension containing 2 × 108 cfu/mL in 10 mM MgCl2 with 0.04% silwet L-77. Leaves were harvested at 3 hrs, 2 dpi and 3 dpi. Each leaves sample was weighed, surface sterilized in 70% ethanol for 30 s and washed in sterile distilled water for 30 s before ground in 10 mM MgCl2. Serial dilutions were plated on King’s B plates with appropriate antibiotics. Each data point represents the average of three replicates. Each replicate contains the bacterial titer of average of three individual pots with a density of 20 seedlings.
Proteomics analyses of EDM2
Anti-HA beads were used to pull-down HA-EDM2 fusion protein after chromatin precipitation. The protein samples were trypsin-digested and analyzed with a MudPIT method described previously  with some modifications. MS1 scan range was m/z 400 to 1,400, and charge state was 2–6. For the MS2 scan, Orbitrap resolution was set at 15,000. A top speed mode with 2-sec and least-intense was used for both CID and HCD scanning. The decision-tree was targeted to a specific m/z in its inclusion list. The raw MS files were processed and analyzed using Proteome Discoverer v2.2 (ThermoFisher Scientific). Both Sequest HT and Mascot search engines were used to match all MS data to the Arabidopsis TAIR10 protein database supplemented with common contaminant proteins such as keratins.
S1 Fig. Genome browser view of normalized ChIP-seq signals for a representative section of Chromosome 1 (Chr1: 15, 600 kb -18, 000 kb).
H3K9me2, H3C and input ChIP-seq for WT and edm2-2 are shown in each tracks. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
Spearman correlation for replicates of ChIP-seq (A) and RNA-seq (B) analyses.
S3 Fig. Significantly enriched GO (Gene Ontology) terms with P < 0.05 for edm2-2 H3K9 hyper-dimethylated and transcriptionally down-regulated genes.
S4 Fig. Genome browser view of HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq, H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at RPP7 locus.
The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
(A) Genome browser view of HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq, H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at RPP4 locus. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads). (B) Genome browser view of WT and ibm1 RNA-seq data at RPP4 locus with different data ranges.
S6 Fig. An LC/MS/MS spectrum is shown for a peptide ion with m/z 912.4314, 2+. MS2 fragmentation was achieved with HCD (higher-energy collision-induced dissociation) activation.
All detected y-series as well as b-series fragment ions are labeled. Many neutral-loss fragments are also detected but not labeled here. Both Sequest HT and Mascot search engines matched this spectrum to an EDM2 peptide, 395—EISFEDIEDEDILTR—409, with high confidence. Summary for two mass spectrometry identified EDM2 peptides are shown in the bottom.
(A and B) Genome browser view of HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq, H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at the EDM2 (A) and IBM1 (B) loci. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
(A and B) Genome browser view of HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq, H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at AT1G11270 (A) and AT3G05410 (B) loci. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S9 Fig. Alternative polyadenylation sites at RPP4 locus.
(A) Schematic representation of RPP4 with two alternative RNA transcript isoforms. (B) Nucleotide sequence of RPP4 exon 6. Coding nucleotides of exon 6 are in upper case black letters. Lower case letters in red are 3’UTR. The 130 bp of 5’LTR sequence for COPIA4 are shown in bold. Polyadenylation sites determined by 3’RACE are labeled by numbers 1–8. Blue underlined sequences between areas a (#5- #6) and b (#6- #8) indicate regions used for read counts shown in Fig 5B. (C) Amino acid sequence of protein isoforms encoded by RPP4. Purple: TIR domain; Blue: NB-ARC domain; Green: Leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain, each one of 18 putative LRRs (predicted by Uniprot: F4JNA9) is underlined in pink. (D) Genome browser view of edm2, suvh456 and respective WT RNA-seq data at RPP4 3’UTR. Red arrows indicate polyadenylation sites 5–8 shown in (B). Blue underlined areas a (#5- #6) and b (#6- #8) indicate regions used for read counts shown in Fig 5B. Genome tracks of three biological replicates were overlaid and displayed in IGV. Each single replicate is represented by the lightest shade. Overlaps between two replicates are of medium darkness, while overlaps of all three replicates are of maximal darkness. (E) Genome browser view of TSSs at RPP4. Genome tracks of two biological replicates for Col-0 were shown. TSS-seq data were obtained from NCBI (GEO: GSE113677). (F and G) Genome browser views of edm2 and WT RNA-seq data at RPP2A (F) and RPP2B (G).
S10 Fig. Genome browser view of HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq, H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at AT4G16900.
The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
Genome browser view of HA-tagged EDM2 ChIP-seq, H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq at AT3G44630 and AT3TE65615 (A) and AT5G44870 and AT5TE65325 (B) loci. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
Genome browser view of AT5G41740 and AT5G41750 (A) and AT5G47260 and AT5G47280 (B). The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S13 Fig. Genome browser view of H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at NLR loci significantly transcriptionally up-regulated in edm2 and ibm1.
The AGI numbers for these loci are AT1G17600, AT1G17610, AT1G58390, AT3G07040, AT3G25510, AT3G44400, AT5G18360, AT5G46260, AT5G46520 and AT5G66630. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S14 Fig. Genome browser view of H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at NLR loci significantly transcriptionally up-regulated in edm2 and showing no change in ibm1.
The AGI numbers for these loci are AT1G12290, AT1G33560, AT1G56510, AT1G56540, AT1G63860, AT1G63880, AT1G72860, AT1G72870, AT3G50950, AT3G51560, AT3G51570, AT4G16960, AT4G27220, AT5G05400, AT5G17680, AT5G18370, AT5G22690, AT5G38340, AT5G41550, AT5G45240, AT5G46450, AT5G46510 and AT5G48770. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S15 Fig. Genome browser view of H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at NLR loci significantly transcriptionally up-regulated in edm2 and down-regulated in ibm1.
The AGI numbers for these loci are AT1G58400, AT1G63750, AT4G14370, AT4G33300 and AT5G58120. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S16 Fig. Genome browser view of H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at NLR loci significantly transcriptionally down-regulated in edm2 and ibm1.
The AGI numbers for these loci are AT3G14460 and AT3G14470. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S17 Fig. Genome browser view of H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at NLR loci significantly transcriptionally down-regulated in edm2 and showing no change in ibm1.
The AGI numbers for these loci are AT1G59124 and AT4G16920. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S18 Fig. Genome browser view of H3K9me2 ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data at NLR loci significantly transcriptionally down-regulated in edm2 and up-regulated in ibm1.
The AGI numbers for these loci are AT1G58602, AT1G59620, AT1G62630, AT1G72910, AT2G14080, AT4G16860 and AT5G43740. The y-axis represents coverage values (normalized per million mapped reads).
S19 Fig. Distribution of EDM2, AIPP1 and IBM1-affected genes and NLRs that show significant up or down-regulated transcript level changes.
χ2 test of independence showed significant differences between actual and expected equal distribution (50% up-regulated and 50% down-regulated genes). *: P-value <0.05. ***: P-value <0.001.
Venn diagram showing overlaps between edm2-2, aipp1 and ibm1-6 transcriptionally up-regulated (A) and down-regulated (B) NLR genes.
S1 Table. List of genes that show significant H3K9me2 changes in edm2-2 identified by ChIP-seq.
S2 Table. List of TEs that show significant H3K9me2 changes in edm2-2 identified by ChIP-seq.
S3 Table. List of differentially expressed genes in edm2 identified by RNA-seq.
Arabidopsis NLRs show significant changes of H3K9me2 levels (A) and transcript levels (B) in edm2. (C) Arabidopsis defense-associated genes showing up-regulated changes of transcript levels in edm2. (D) Arabidopsis defense-associated genes showing down-regulated changes of transcript levels in edm2. (E) Arabidopsis NLRs show significant changes of H3K9me2 levels in ibm1.
S5 Table. List of differentially expressed TEs in edm2 identified by RNA-seq.
List of genes (A) and TEs (B) showing significant association with HA-EDM2 identified by mapping unique (A) or non-unique (B) reads.
S7 Table. List of genes that show significant H3K9me2 changes in ibm1-4 identified by ChIP-seq.
S8 Table. List of TEs that show significant H3K9me2 changes in ibm1-4 identified by ChIP-seq.
List of HA-EDM2 associated genes (A) and TEs (B) showing significant changes of H3K9me2 and/or transcript levels in edm2 and/or ibm1.
We thank Dr. Jeffery L. Dangl (University of North Carolina, USA) for critical reading of the manuscript and helpful discussions. We also thank Dr. Judith Bender (Brown University, Providence, RI) for providing the Col-0 suvh456 mutant. We thank the NSF-supported SIGNAL T-DNA Express and NSF-supported Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center for providing seeds.
- 1. Jones JD, Vance RE, Dangl JL. Intracellular innate immune surveillance devices in plants and animals. Science. 2016;354(6316):aaf6395. pmid:27934708.
- 2. Jacob F, Vernaldi S, Maekawa T. Evolution and conservation of plant NLR functions. Front Immunol. 2013;4:297. pmid:24093022.
- 3. Li F, Pignatta D, Bendix C, Brunkard JO, Cohn MM, Tung J, et al. MicroRNA regulation of plant innate immune receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(5):1790–1795. pmid:22307647.
- 4. Lai Y, Eulgem T. Transcript-level expression control of plant NLR genes. Mol Plant Pathol. 2018;19(5):1267–1281. pmid:28834153.
- 5. Bieri S, Mauch S, Shen QH, Peart J, Devoto A, Casais C, et al. RAR1 positively controls steady state levels of barley MLA resistance proteins and enables sufficient MLA6 accumulation for effective resistance. Plant Cell. 2004;16(12):3480–3495. pmid:15548741.
- 6. Holt BF, 3rd, Belkhadir Y, Dangl JL. Antagonistic control of disease resistance protein stability in the plant immune system. Science. 2005;309(5736):929–932. pmid:15976272.
- 7. Stokes TL, Kunkel BN, Richards EJ. Epigenetic variation in Arabidopsis disease resistance. Genes Dev. 2002;16(2):171–182. pmid:11799061.
- 8. Li Y, Yang S, Yang H, Hua J. The TIR-NB-LRR gene SNC1 is regulated at the transcript level by multiple factors. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2007;20(11):1449–1456. pmid:17977156.
- 9. Karasov TL, Chae E, Herman JJ, Bergelson J. Mechanisms to mitigate the trade-off between growth and defense. Plant Cell. 2017;29(4):666–680. pmid:28320784.
- 10. Mohr TJ, Mammarella ND, Hoff T, Woffenden BJ, Jelesko JG, McDowell JM. The Arabidopsis downy mildew resistance gene RPP8 is induced by pathogens and salicylic acid and is regulated by W box cis elements. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2010;23(10):1303–1315. pmid:20831409.
- 11. Saucet SB, Ma Y, Sarris PF, Furzer OJ, Sohn KH, Jones JD. Two linked pairs of Arabidopsis TNL resistance genes independently confer recognition of bacterial effector AvrRps4. Nat Commun. 2015;6:6338. pmid:25744164.
- 12. Chae E, Tran DT, Weigel D. Cooperation and conflict in the plant immune system. PLoS Pathog. 2016;12(3):e1005452. pmid:26986469.
- 13. Zhang Y, Xia R, Kuang H, Meyers BC. The diversification of plant NBS-LRR defense genes directs the evolution of microRNAs that target them. Mol Biol Evol. 2016;33(10):2692–2705. pmid:27512116.
- 14. Eulgem T, Tsuchiya T, Wang XJ, Beasley B, Cuzick A, Tor M, et al. EDM2 is required for RPP7-dependent disease resistance in Arabidopsis and affects RPP7 transcript levels. Plant J. 2007;49(5):829–839. pmid:17253987.
- 15. Tsuchiya T, Eulgem T. The Arabidopsis defense component EDM2 affects the floral transition in an FLC-dependent manner. Plant J. 2010a;62(3):518–528. pmid:20149132.
- 16. Lei M, La H, Lu K, Wang P, Miki D, Ren Z, et al. Arabidopsis EDM2 promotes IBM1 distal polyadenylation and regulates genome DNA methylation patterns. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111(1):527–532. pmid:24248388.
- 17. Tsuchiya T, Eulgem T. EMSY-like genes are required for full RPP7-mediated race-specific immunity and basal defense in Arabidopsis. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2011;24(12):1573–1581. pmid:21830950.
- 18. Tsuchiya T, Eulgem T. An alternative polyadenylation mechanism coopted to the Arabidopsis RPP7 gene through intronic retrotransposon domestication. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013b;110(37):3535–3543. pmid:23940361.
- 19. Duan CG, Wang X, Zhang L, Xiong X, Zhang Z, Tang K, et al. A protein complex regulates RNA processing of intronic heterochromatin-containing genes in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114(35):7377–7384. pmid:28808009.
- 20. Lai Y, Cuzick A, Lu XM, Wang J, Katiyar N, Tsuchiya T, et al. The Arabidopsis RRM domain protein EDM3 mediates race-specific disease resistance by controlling H3K9me2-dependent alternative polyadenylation of RPP7 immune receptor transcripts. Plant J. 2019;97:646–660. pmid:30407670.
- 21. Tsuchiya T, Eulgem T. Mutations in EDM2 selectively affect silencing states of transposons and induce plant developmental plasticity. Scientific Reports. 2013a;3:1701. pmid:23609044.
- 22. Tsuchiya T, Eulgem T. Co-option of EDM2 to distinct regulatory modules in Arabidopsis thaliana development. BMC Plant Biology. 2010b;10(1):203. pmid:20840782.
- 23. Jirage D, Zhou N, Cooper B, Clarke JD, Dong X, Glazebrook J. Constitutive salicylic acid-dependent signaling in cpr1 and cpr6 mutants requires PAD4. Plant J. 2001;26(4):395–407. pmid:11439127.
- 24. Maleck K, Neuenschwander U, Cade RM, Dietrich RA, Dangl JL, Ryals JA. Isolation and characterization of broad-spectrum disease-resistant Arabidopsis mutants. Genetics. 2002;160(4):1661–1671. pmid:11973319.
- 25. Law JA, Jacobsen SE. Establishing, maintaining and modifying DNA methylation patterns in plants and animals. Nat Rev Genet. 2010;11(3):204–220. pmid:20142834.
- 26. Matzke MA, Mosher RA. RNA-directed DNA methylation: an epigenetic pathway of increasing complexity. Nat Rev Genet. 2014;15(6):394–408. pmid:24805120.
- 27. Stroud H, Do T, Du J, Zhong X, Feng S, Johnson L, et al. Non-CG methylation patterns shape the epigenetic landscape in Arabidopsis. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2014;21(1):64–72. pmid:24336224.
- 28. Du J, Zhong X, Bernatavichute YV, Stroud H, Feng S, Caro E, et al. Dual binding of chromomethylase domains to H3K9me2-containing nucleosomes directs DNA methylation in plants. Cell. 2012;151(1):167–180. pmid:23021223.
- 29. Dinesh-Kumar SP, Baker BJ. Alternatively spliced N resistance gene transcripts: their possible role in tobacco mosaic virus resistance. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000;97:1908–1913. pmid:10660679.
- 30. Kuang H, Padmanabhan C, Li F, Kamei A, Bhaskar PB, Ouyang S, et al. Identification of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) and biogenesis of their siRNAs in the Solanaceae: new functional implications for MITEs. Genome Res. 2009;19(1):42–56. pmid:19037014.
- 31. Hayashi K, Yoshida H. Refunctionalization of the ancient rice blast disease resistance gene Pit by the recruitment of a retrotransposon as a promoter. Plant J. 2009;57(3):413–425. pmid:18808453.
- 32. Bernatavichute YV, Zhang X, Cokus S, Pellegrini M, Jacobsen SE. Genome-wide association of histone H3 lysine nine methylation with CHG DNA methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS One. 2008;3(9):e3156. pmid:18776934.
- 33. van der Biezen EA, Freddie CT, Kahn K, Parker JE, Jones JDG. Arabidopsis RPP4 is a member of the RPP5 multigene family of TIR-NB-LRR genes and confers downy mildew resistance through multiple signaling components. Plant J. 2002;29(4):439–451. pmid:11846877.
- 34. Holub EB, Beynon JL, Ctute IR. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of interactions between isolates of Peronospora parasitica and accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 1994;7(2):223–239.
- 35. Ebbs ML, Bender J. Locus-specific control of DNA methylation by the Arabidopsis SUVH5 histone methyltransferase. Plant Cell. 2006;18(5):1166–1176. pmid:16582009.
- 36. Kindgren P, Ard R, Ivanov M, Marquardt S. Transcriptional read-through of the long non-coding RNA SVALKA governs plant cold acclimation. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):4561. pmid:30385760.
- 37. Sinapidou E, Williams K, Nott L, Bahkt S, Tor M, Crute I, et al. Two TIR:NB:LRR genes are required to specify resistance to Peronospora parasitica isolate Cala2 in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 2004;38(6):898–909. pmid:15165183.
- 38. Cuzick A. Genetic characterisation of four genes in Arabidopsis required for a non-salicylate-dependent source of downy mildew resistance. Thesis, Imperial College of Biotechnology, Science and Medicine at Wye, University of London, UK. 2001.
- 39. Michelmore RW, Meyers BC. Clusters of resistance genes in plants evolve by divergent selection and a birth-and-death process. Genome Res. 1998;8:1113–1130. pmid:9847076.
- 40. McDowell JM, Simon SA. Recent insights into R gene evolution. Mol Plant Pathol. 2006;7(5):437–448. pmid:20507459.
- 41. Saze H, Shiraishi A, Miura A, Kakutani T. Control of genic DNA methylation by a jmjC domain-containing protein in Arabidopsis thaliana. Science. 2008;319(5862):462–465. pmid:18218897.
- 42. Miura A, Nakamura M, Inagaki S, Kobayashi A, Saze H, Kakutani T. An Arabidopsis jmjC domain protein protects transcribed genes from DNA methylation at CHG sites. EMBO J. 2009;28(8):1078–1086. pmid:19262562.
- 43. Rigal M, Kevei Z, Pelissier T, Mathieu O. DNA methylation in an intron of the IBM1 histone demethylase gene stabilizes chromatin modification patterns. EMBO J. 2012;31(13):2981–2993. pmid:22580822.
- 44. Inagaki S, Miura-Kamio A, Nakamura Y, Lu F, Cui X, Cao X, et al. Autocatalytic differentiation of epigenetic modifications within the Arabidopsis genome. EMBO J. 2010;29(20):3496–3506. pmid:20834229.
- 45. Ji L, Jordan WT, Shi X, Hu L, He C, Schmitz RJ. TET-mediated epimutagenesis of the Arabidopsis thaliana methylome. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):895. pmid:29497035.
- 46. Wang YH, Warren JT Jr. Mutations in retrotransposon AtCOPIA4 compromises resistance to Hyaloperonospora parasitica in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genet Mol Biol. 2010;33(1):135–140. pmid:21637617.
- 47. Deremetz A, Le Roux C, Idir Y, Brousse C, Agorio A, Gy I, et al. Antagonistic actions of FPA and IBM2 regulate transcript processing from genes containing heterochromatin. Plant Physiol. 2019;180(1):392–403. pmid:30814131.
- 48. Cheng YT, Li YZ, Huang SA, Huang Y, Dong XN, Zhang YL, et al. Stability of plant immune-receptor resistance proteins is controlled by SKP1-CULLIN1-F-box (SCF)-mediated protein degradation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108(35):14694–14699. pmid:21873230.
- 49. Gou MY, Shi ZY, Zhu Y, Bao ZL, Wang GY, Hua J. The F-box protein CPR1/CPR30 negatively regulates R protein SNC1 accumulation. Plant J. 2012;69(3):411–420. pmid:21967323.
- 50. Chan C, Zimmerli L. The histone demethylase IBM1 positively regulates Arabidopsis immunity by control of defense gene expression. Frontiers in Plant Science. 2019;10:1587. pmid:31956325
- 51. Meyers BC, Kozik A, Griego A, Kuang H, Michelmore RW. Genome-wide analysis of NBS-LRR-encoding genes in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 2003;15(4):809–834. pmid:12671079.
- 52. Wei F, Wing RA, Wise RP. Genome dynamics and evolution of the Mla (powdery mildew) resistance locus in barley. Plant Cell. 2002;14(8):1903–1917. pmid:12172030.
- 53. Miyao A, Tanaka K, Murata K, Sawaki H, Takeda S, Abe K, et al. Target site specificity of the Tos17 retrotransposon shows a preference for insertion within genes and against insertion in retrotransposon-rich regions of the genome. Plant Cell. 2003;15(8):1771–1780. pmid:12897251.
- 54. Takahashi A, Hayashi N, Miyao A, Hirochika H. Unique features of the rice blast resistance Pish locus revealed by large scale retrotransposon-tagging. BMC Plant Biol. 2010;10:175. pmid:20707904.
- 55. Noël L, Moores TL, van der Biezen EA, Parniske M, Daniels MJ, Parker JE, et al. Pronounced intraspecific haplotype divergence at the RPP5 complex disease resistance locus of Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 1999;11:2099–2111. pmid:10559437
- 56. Guo YL, Fitz J, Schneeberger K, Ossowski S, Cao J, Weigel D. Genome-wide comparison of nucleotide-binding site-leucine-rich repeat-encoding genes in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 2011;157(2):757–769. pmid:21810963.
- 57. Galindo-Gonzalez L, Mhiri C, Deyholos MK, Grandbastien MA. LTR-retrotransposons in plants: Engines of evolution. Gene. 2017;626:14–25. pmid:28476688.
- 58. Zervudacki J, Yu A, Amesefe D, Wang JY, Drouaud J, Navarro L, et al. Transcriptional control and exploitation of an immune-responsive family of plant retrotransposons. Embo J. 2018;37(14):e98482. pmid:29871888.
- 59. Le TN, Schumann U, Smith NA, Tiwari S, Au PC, Zhu QH, et al. DNA demethylases target promoter transposable elements to positively regulate stress responsive genes in Arabidopsis. Genome Biol. 2014;15(9):458. pmid:25228471.
- 60. Grandbastien MA. LTR retrotransposons, handy hitchhikers of plant regulation and stress response. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015;1849(4):403–416. pmid:25086340.
- 61. Casacuberta E, Gonzalez J. The impact of transposable elements in environmental adaptation. Mol Ecol. 2013;22(6):1503–1517. pmid:23293987.
- 62. Yu A, Lepere G, Jay F, Wang J, Bapaume L, Wang Y, et al. Dynamics and biological relevance of DNA demethylation in Arabidopsis antibacterial defense. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(6):2389–2394. pmid:23335630.
- 63. Dong S, Raffaele S, Kamoun S. The two-speed genomes of filamentous pathogens: waltz with plants. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2015;35:57–65. pmid:26451981.
- 64. Spanu PD. The genomics of obligate (and nonobligate) biotrophs. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2012;50:91–109. pmid:22559067.
- 65. Zhai J, Jeong DH, De Paoli E, Park S, Rosen BD, Li Y, et al. MicroRNAs as master regulators of the plant NB-LRR defense gene family via the production of phased, trans-acting siRNAs. Genes Dev. 2011;25(23):2540–2553. pmid:22156213.
- 66. Shivaprasad PV, Chen HM, Patel K, Bond DM, Santos BA, Baulcombe DC. A microRNA superfamily regulates nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeats and other mRNAs. Plant Cell. 2012;24(3):859–874. pmid:22408077.
- 67. Saze H, Kitayama J, Takashima K, Miura S, Harukawa Y, Ito T, et al. Mechanism for full-length RNA processing of Arabidopsis genes containing intragenic heterochromatin. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2301. pmid:23934508.
- 68. Wang X, Duan CG, Tang K, Wang B, Zhang H, Lei M, et al. RNA-binding protein regulates plant DNA methylation by controlling mRNA processing at the intronic heterochromatin-containing gene IBM1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(38):15467–15472. pmid:24003136.
- 69. McDowell JM, Cuzick A, Can C, Beynon J, Dangl JL, Holub EB. Downy mildew (Peronospora parasitica) resistance genes in Arabidopsis vary in functional requirements for NDR1, EDS1, NPR1, and Salicylic Acid accumulation. Plant J. 2000;22(6):523–530. pmid:10886772.
- 70. Li H, Durbin R. Fast and accurate short read alignment with Burrows-Wheeler transform. Bioinformatics. 2009;25(14):1754–1760. pmid:19451168.
- 71. Quinlan AR, Hall IM. BEDTools: a flexible suite of utilities for comparing genomic features. Bioinformatics. 2010;26(6):841–842. pmid:20110278.
- 72. Love MI, Huber W, Anders S. Moderated estimation of fold change and dispersion for RNA-seq data with DESeq2. Genome Biol. 2014;15(12):550. pmid:25516281
- 73. Kim D, Langmead B, Salzberg SL. HISAT: a fast spliced aligner with low memory requirements. Nat Methods. 2015;12(4):357–360. pmid:25751142.
- 74. Robinson JT, Thorvaldsdottir H, Winckler W, Guttman M, Lander ES, Getz G, et al. Integrative genomics viewer. Nat Biotechnol. 2011;29(1):24–26. pmid:21221095.
- 75. Zhang CJ, Du X, Tang K, Yang ZL, Pan L, Zhu PP, et al. Arabidopsis AGDP1 links H3K9me2 to DNA methylation in heterochromatin. Nature Communications. 2018;9:4547. pmid:30382101.
- 76. Kawabe A, Hansson B, Hagenblad J, Forrest A, Charlesworth D. Centromere locations and associated chromosome rearrangements in Arabidopsis lyrata and A. thaliana. Genetics. 2006;173(3):1613–1619. pmid:16648590.
- 77. Katagiri F, Thilmony R, He SY. The Arabidopsis thaliana-pseudomonas syringae interaction. Arabidopsis Book. 2002;1:e0039. pmid:22303207.
- 78. Zhu X, Li S, Pan S, Xin X, Gu Y. CSI1, PATROL1, and exocyst complex cooperate in delivery of cellulose synthase complexes to the plasma membrane. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115(15):3578–3587. pmid:29581258.