CRISPR/Cas9-Based Gene Editing Using Egg Cell-Specific Promoters in Arabidopsis and Soybean.
ABSTRACT: CRISPR/Cas9-based systems are efficient genome editing tools in a variety of plant species including soybean. Most of the gene edits in soybean plants are somatic and non-transmissible when Cas9 is expressed under control of constitutive promoters. Tremendous effort, therefore, must be spent to identify the inheritable edits occurring at lower frequencies in plants of successive generations. Here, we report the development and validation of genome editing systems in soybean and Arabidopsis based on Cas9 driven under four different egg-cell specific promoters. A soybean ubiquitin gene promoter driving expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) is incorporated in the CRISPR/Cas9 constructs for visually selecting transgenic plants and transgene-evicted edited lines. In Arabidopsis, the four systems all produced a collection of mutations in the T2 generation at frequencies ranging from 8.3 to 42.9%, with egg cell-specific promoter AtEC1.2e1.1p being the highest. In soybean, function of the gRNAs and Cas9 expressed under control of the CaMV double 35S promoter (2x35S) in soybean hairy roots was tested prior to making stable transgenic plants. The 2x35S:Cas9 constructs yielded a high somatic mutation frequency in soybean hairy roots. In stable transgenic soybean T1 plants, AtEC1.2e1.1p:Cas9 yielded a mutation rate of 26.8%, while Cas9 expression driven by the other three egg cell-specific promoters did not produce any detected mutations. Furthermore, the mutations were inheritable in the T2 generation. Our study provides CRISPR gene-editing platforms to generate inheritable mutants of Arabidopsis and soybean without the complication of somatic mutagenesis, which can be used to characterize genes of interest in Arabidopsis and soybean.
Project description:The Cas9/sgRNA of the CRISPR/Cas system has emerged as a robust technology for targeted gene editing in various organisms, including plants, where Cas9/sgRNA-mediated small deletions/insertions at single cleavage sites have been reported in transient and stable transformations, although genetic transmission of edits has been reported only in Arabidopsis and rice. Large chromosomal excision between two remote nuclease-targeted loci has been reported only in a few non-plant species. Here we report in rice Cas9/sgRNA-induced large chromosomal segment deletions, the inheritance of genome edits in multiple generations and construction of a set of facile vectors for high-efficiency, multiplex gene targeting. Four sugar efflux transporter genes were modified in rice at high efficiency; the most efficient system yielding 87-100% editing in T0 transgenic plants, all with di-allelic edits. Furthermore, genetic crosses segregating Cas9/sgRNA transgenes away from edited genes yielded several genome-edited but transgene-free rice plants. We also demonstrated proof-of-efficiency of Cas9/sgRNAs in producing large chromosomal deletions (115-245 kb) involving three different clusters of genes in rice protoplasts and verification of deletions of two clusters in regenerated T0 generation plants. Together, these data demonstrate the power of our Cas9/sgRNA platform for targeted gene/genome editing in rice and other crops, enabling both basic research and agricultural applications.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been widely used for targeted genome editing in numerous plant species. In Arabidopsis, constitutive promoters usually result in a low efficiency of heritable mutation in the T1 generation. In this work, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing efficiencies using different promoters to drive Cas9 expression were evaluated. Expression of Cas9 under the constitutive CaMV 35S promoter resulted in a 2.3% mutation rate in T1 plants and failed to produce homozygous mutations in the T1 and T2 generations. In contrast, expression of Cas9 under two cell division-specific promoters, YAO and CDC45, produced mutation rates of 80.9% to 100% in the T1 generation with nonchimeric mutations in the T1 (4.4?10%) and T2 (32.5?46.1%) generations. The pCDC45 promoter was used to modify a previously reported multiplex CRISPR/Cas9 system, replacing the original constitutive ubiquitin promoter. The multi-pCDC45-Cas9 system produced higher mutation efficiencies than the multi-pUBQ-Cas9 system in the T1 generation (60.17% vs. 43.71%) as well as higher efficiency of heritable mutations (11.30% vs. 4.31%). Sextuple T2 homozygous mutants were identified from a construct targeting seven individual loci. Our results demonstrate the advantage of using cell division promoters for CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing applications in Arabidopsis, especially in multiplex applications.
Project description:Genome editing is a valuable technique for gene function analysis and crop improvement. Over the past two years, the CRISPR-Cas9 system has emerged as a powerful tool for precisely targeted gene editing. In this study, we predicted 11 U6 genes in soybean (Glycine max L.). We then constructed two vectors (pCas9-GmU6-sgRNA and pCas9-AtU6-sgRNA) using the soybean U6-10 and Arabidopsis U6-26 promoters, respectively, to produce synthetic guide RNAs (sgRNAs) for targeted gene mutagenesis. Three genes, Glyma06g14180, Glyma08g02290 and Glyma12g37050, were selected as targets. Mutations of these three genes were detected in soybean protoplasts. The vectors were then transformed into soybean hairy roots by Agrobacterium rhizogenes infection, resulting in efficient target gene editing. Mutation efficiencies ranged from 3.2-9.7% using the pCas9-AtU6-sgRNA vector and 14.7-20.2% with the pCas9-GmU6-sgRNA vector. Biallelic mutations in Glyma06g14180 and Glyma08g02290 were detected in transgenic hairy roots. Off-target activities associated with Glyma06g14180 and Glyma12g37050 were also detected. Off-target activity would improve mutation efficiency for the construction of a saturated gene mutation library in soybean. Targeted mutagenesis using the CRISPR-Cas9 system should advance soybean functional genomic research, especially that of genes involved in the roots and nodules.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 system is rapidly becoming the reagent of choice for targeted mutagenesis and gene editing in crop species. There are currently intense research efforts in the crop sciences to identify efficient CRISPR/Cas9 platforms to carry out targeted mutagenesis and gene editing projects. These efforts typically result in the incremental tweaking of various platform components including the identification of crop-specific promoters and terminators for optimal expression of the Cas9 enzyme and identification of promoters for expression of the CRISPR guide RNA. In this report, we demonstrate the development of an online web tool for fast identification of CRISPR/Cas9 target loci within soybean gene models, and generic DNA sequences. The web-tool described in this work can quickly identify a high number of potential CRISPR/Cas9 target sites, including restriction enzyme sites that can facilitate the detection of new mutations. In conjunction with the web tool, a soybean codon-optimized CRISPR/Cas9 platform was designed to direct double-stranded breaks to the targeted loci in hairy root transformed cells. The modified Cas9 enzyme was shown to successfully mutate target genes in somatic cells of 2 legume species, soybean and Medicago truncatula. These new tools may help facilitate targeted mutagenesis in legume and other plant species.
Project description:Genome editing using the CRISPR/Cas9 system can be used to modify plant genomes, however, improvements in specificity and applicability are still needed in order for the editing technique to be useful in various plant species. Here, using genome editing mediated by a truncated gRNA (tru-gRNA)/Cas9 combination, we generated new alleles for OST2, a proton pump in Arabidopsis, with no off-target effects. By following expression of Cas9 and the tru-gRNAs, newly generated mutations in CRIPSR/Cas9 transgenic plants were detected with high average mutation rates of up to 32.8% and no off-target effects using constitutive promoter. Reducing nuclear localization signals in Cas9 decreased the mutation rate. In contrast, tru-gRNA Cas9 cassettes driven by meristematic- and reproductive-tissue-specific promoters increased the heritable mutation rate in Arabidopsis, showing that high expression in the germ line can produce bi-allelic mutations. Finally, the new mutant alleles obtained for OST2 exhibited altered stomatal closing in response to environmental conditions. These results suggest further applications in molecular breeding to improve plant function using optimized plant CRISPR/Cas9 systems.
Project description:The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 system is an effective genome editing tool for plant and animal genomes. However, there are still few reports on the successful application of CRISPR-Cas9 to horticultural plants, especially with regard to germ-line transmission of targeted mutations. Here, we report high-efficiency genome editing in the wild strawberry Fragaria vesca and its successful application to mutate the auxin biosynthesis gene TAA1 and auxin response factor 8 (ARF8). In our CRISPR system, the Arabidopsis U6 promoter AtU6-26 and the wild strawberry U6 promoter FveU6-2 were each used to drive the expression of sgRNA, and both promoters were shown to lead to high-efficiency genome editing in strawberry. To test germ-line transmission of the edited mutations and new mutations induced in the next generation, the progeny of the primary (T0) transgenic plants carrying the CRISPR construct was analysed. New mutations were detected in the progeny plants at a high efficiency, including large deletions between the two PAM sites. Further, T1 plants harbouring arf8 homozygous knockout mutations grew considerably faster than wild-type plants. The results indicate that our CRISPR vectors can be used to edit the wild strawberry genome at a high efficiency and that both sgRNA design and appropriate U6 promoters contribute to the success of genomic editing. Our results open up exciting opportunities for engineering strawberry and related horticultural crops to improve traits of economic importance.
Project description:Bacterial CRISPR systems have been widely adopted to create operator-specified site-specific nucleases. Such nuclease action commonly results in loss-of-function alleles, facilitating functional analysis of genes and gene families We conducted a systematic comparison of components and T-DNA architectures for CRISPR-mediated gene editing in Arabidopsis, testing multiple promoters, terminators, sgRNA backbones and Cas9 alleles. We identified a T-DNA architecture that usually results in stable (i.e. homozygous) mutations in the first generation after transformation. Notably, the transcription of sgRNA and Cas9 in head-to-head divergent orientation usually resulted in highly active lines. Our Arabidopsis data may prove useful for optimization of CRISPR methods in other plants.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The plant architecture has significant effects on grain yield of various crops, including soybean (Glycine max), but the knowledge on optimization of plant architecture in order to increase yield potential is still limited. Recently, CRISPR/Cas9 system has revolutionized genome editing, and has been widely utilized to edit the genomes of a diverse range of crop plants. RESULTS:In the present study, we employed the CRISPR/Cas9 system to mutate four genes encoding SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) transcription factors of the SPL9 family in soybean. These four GmSPL9 genes are negatively regulated by GmmiR156b, a target for the improvement of soybean plant architecture and yields. The soybean Williams 82 was transformed with the binary CRISPR/Cas9 plasmid, assembled with four sgRNA expression cassettes driven by the Arabidopsis thaliana U3 or U6 promoter, targeting different sites of these four SPL9 genes via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. A 1-bp deletion was detected in one target site of the GmSPL9a and one target site of the GmSPL9b, respectively, by DNA sequencing analysis of two T0-generation plants. T2-generation spl9a and spl9b homozygous single mutants exhibited no obvious phenotype changes; but the T2 double homozygous mutant spl9a/spl9b possessed shorter plastochron length. In T4 generation, higher-order mutant plants carrying various combinations of mutations showed increased node number on the main stem and branch number, consequently increased total node number per plants at different levels. In addition, the expression levels of the examined GmSPL9 genes were higher in the spl9b-1 single mutant than wild-type plants, which might suggest a feedback regulation on the expression of the investigated GmSPL9 genes in soybean. CONCLUSIONS:Our results showed that CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted mutagenesis of four GmSPL9 genes in different combinations altered plant architecture in soybean. The findings demonstrated that GmSPL9a, GmSPL9b, GmSPL9c and GmSPL9 function as redundant transcription factors in regulating plant architecture in soybean.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9 enabled genome engineering has great potential for improving agriculture productivity, but the possibility of unintended off-target edits has evoked some concerns. Here we employ a three-step strategy to investigate Cas9 nuclease specificity in a complex plant genome. Our approach pairs computational prediction with genome-wide biochemical off-target detection followed by validation in maize plants. Our results reveal high frequency (up to 90%) on-target editing with no evidence of off-target cleavage activity when guide RNAs were bioinformatically predicted to be specific. Predictable off-target edits were observed but only with a promiscuous guide RNA intentionally designed to validate our approach. Off-target editing can be minimized by designing guide RNAs that are different from other genomic locations by at least three mismatches in combination with at least one mismatch occurring in the PAM proximal region. With well-designed guides, genetic variation from Cas9 off-target cleavage in plants is negligible, and much less than inherent variation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing is now revolutionizing the ability to effectively modify plant genomes in the absence of efficient homologous recombination mechanisms that exist in other organisms. However, soybean is allotetraploid and is commonly viewed as difficult and inefficient to transform. In this study, we demonstrate the utility of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in soybean at relatively high efficiency. This was shown by specifically targeting the Fatty Acid Desaturase 2 (GmFAD2) that converts the monounsaturated oleic acid (C18:1) to the polyunsaturated linoleic acid (C18:2), therefore, regulating the content of monounsaturated fats in soybean seeds. RESULTS:We designed two gRNAs to guide Cas9 to simultaneously cleave two sites, spaced 1Kb apart, within the second exons of GmFAD2-1A and GmFAD2-1B. In order to test whether the Cas9 and gRNAs would perform properly in transgenic soybean plants, we first tested the CRISPR construct we developed by transient hairy root transformation using Agrobacterium rhizogenesis strain K599. Once confirmed, we performed stable soybean transformation and characterized ten, randomly selected T0 events. Genotyping of CRISPR/Cas9 T0 transgenic lines detected a variety of mutations including large and small DNA deletions, insertions and inversions in the GmFAD2 genes. We detected CRISPR- edited DNA in all the tested T0 plants and 77.8% of the events transmitted the GmFAD2 mutant alleles to T1 progenies. More importantly, null mutants for both GmFAD2 genes were obtained in 40% of the T0 plants we genotyped. The fatty acid profile analysis of T1 seeds derived from CRISPR-edited plants homozygous for both GmFAD2 genes showed dramatic increases in oleic acid content to over 80%, whereas linoleic acid decreased to 1.3-1.7%. In addition, transgene-free high oleic soybean homozygous genotypes were created as early as the T1 generation. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, our data showed that dual gRNA CRISPR/Cas9 system offers a rapid and highly efficient method to simultaneously edit homeologous soybean genes, which can greatly facilitate breeding and gene discovery in this important crop plant.