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:Despite recent progress, the application of CRISPR/Cas9 in perennial plants still has many obstacles to overcome. Our previous results with CRISPR/Cas9 in apple and pear indicated the frequent production of phenotypic and genotypic chimeras, after editing of the <i>phytoene desaturase</i> (<i>PDS</i>) gene conferring albino phenotype. Therefore, our first objective was to determine if adding an adventitious regeneration step from leaves of the primary transgenic plants (T0) would allow a reduction in chimerism. Among hundreds of adventitious buds regenerated from a variegated T0 line, 89% were homogeneous albino. Furthermore, the analysis of the target zone sequences of twelve of these regenerated lines (RT0 for "regenerated T0" lines) indicated that 99% of the RT0 alleles were predicted to produce a truncated target protein and that 67% of RT0 plants had less heterogeneous editing profiles than the T0. Base editors are CRISPR/Cas9-derived new genome-editing tools that allow precise nucleotide substitutions without double-stranded breaks. Hence, our second goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of CRISPR/Cas9 base editing in apple and pear using two easily scorable genes: <i>acetolactate synthase</i>-<i>ALS</i> (conferring resistance to chlorsulfuron) and <i>PDS</i>. The two guide RNAs under MdU3 and MdU6 promoters were coupled into a cytidine base editor harboring a cytidine deaminase fused to a nickase Cas9. Using this vector; we induced C-to-T DNA substitutions in the target genes; leading to discrete variation in the amino-acid sequence and generating new alleles. By co-editing <i>ALS</i> and <i>PDS</i> genes; we successfully obtained chlorsulfuron resistant and albino lines in pear. Overall; our work indicates that a regeneration step can efficiently reduce the initial chimerism and could be coupled with the application of base editing to create accurate genome edits in perennial plants.
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing is an important and versatile technology in modern biological research. Recent advancements include base-editing CRISPR tools that enable targeted nucleotide substitutions using a fusion protein comprising a nickase variant of Cas9 and a base deaminase. Improvements in base editing efficiencies and inheritable of edited loci need to be made to make CRISPR a viable system in plants. Here, we report efficiency of cytosine base editors (CBEs) in Arabidopsis thaliana by applying the strong endogenous RPS5a promoter to drive the expression of nickase Cas9 and either rAPOBEC1 from rat (BE3) or the PmCDA1 activation-induced cytidine deaminase from sea lamprey (AIDv2). Compared with the strong heterologous CaMV35S promoter of viral origin, the RPS5a promoter improved CBE efficiency by 32% points with the number of T<sub>1</sub> plants showing over 50% conversion ratio when the LFY gene was targeted. CBE induced nonsense mutations in LFY via C-to-T conversion, which resulted in loss-of-function lfy phenotypes; defects in LFY function were associated with the targeted base substitutions. Our data suggest that optimal promoter choice for CBE expression may affect base-editing efficiencies in plants. The results provide a strategy to optimize low-efficiency base editors and demonstrate their applicability for functional assays and trait development in crop research.
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:Breeding of stress-tolerant plants is able to improve crop yield under stress conditions, whereas CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing has been shown to be an efficient way for molecular breeding to improve agronomic traits including stress tolerance in crops. However, genes can be targeted for genome editing to enhance crop abiotic stress tolerance remained largely unidentified. We have previously identified abscisic acid (ABA)-induced transcription repressors (AITRs) as a novel family of transcription factors that are involved in the regulation of ABA signaling, and we found that knockout of the entire family of AITR genes in Arabidopsis enhanced drought and salinity tolerance without fitness costs. Considering that AITRs are conserved in angiosperms, AITRs in crops may be targeted for genome editing to improve abiotic stress tolerance. We report here that mutation of GmAITR genes by CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing leads to enhanced salinity tolerance in soybean. By using quantitative RT-PCR analysis, we found that the expression levels of GmAITRs were increased in response to ABA and salt treatments. Transfection assays in soybean protoplasts show that GmAITRs are nucleus proteins, and have transcriptional repression activities. By using CRISPR/Cas9 to target the six GmAITRs simultaneously, we successfully generated Cas9-free gmaitr36 double and gmaitr23456 quintuple mutants. We found that ABA sensitivity in these mutants was increased. Consistent with this, ABA responses of some ABA signaling key regulator genes in the gmaitr mutants were altered. In both seed germination and seedling growth assays, the gmaitr mutants showed enhanced salt tolerance. Most importantly, enhanced salinity tolerance in the mutant plants was also observed in the field experiments. These results suggest that mutation of GmAITR genes by CRISPR/Cas9 is an efficient way to improve salinity tolerance in soybean.
Project description:Prime editing is an adaptation of the CRISPR-Cas system that uses a Cas9(H840A)-reverse transcriptase fusion and a guide RNA amended with template and primer binding site sequences to achieve RNA-templated conversion of the target DNA, allowing specified substitutions, insertions, and deletions. In the first report of prime editing in plants, a variety of edits in rice and wheat were described, including insertions up to 15 bp. Several studies in rice quickly followed, but none reported a larger insertion. Here, we report easy-to-use vectors for prime editing in dicots as well as monocots, their validation in Nicotiana benthamiana, rice, and Arabidopsis, and an insertion of 66 bp that enabled split-GFP fluorescent tagging.
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.