Stress response regulation by epigenetic mechanisms: changing of the guards

Physiol Plant. 2018 Feb;162(2):239-250. doi: 10.1111/ppl.12662. Epub 2017 Nov 30.


Plants are sessile organisms that lack a specialized immune system to cope with biotic and abiotic stress. Instead, plants have complex regulatory networks that determine the appropriate distribution of resources between the developmental and the defense programs. In the last years, epigenetic regulation of repeats and gene expression has evolved as an important player in the transcriptional regulation of stress-related genes. Here, we review the current knowledge about how different stresses interact with different levels of epigenetic control of the genome. Moreover, we analyze the different examples of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and connect them with the known features of genome epigenetic regulation. Although yet to be explored, the interplay between epigenetics and stress resistance seems to be a relevant and dynamic player of the interaction of plants with their environments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Droughts
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Models, Genetic
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / virology
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / microbiology
  • Plants / virology
  • Salinity
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Stress, Physiological*