First Report of CRISPR/Cas9 Mediated DNA-Free Editing of 4CL and RVE7 Genes in Chickpea Protoplasts.
ABSTRACT: The current genome editing system Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats Cas9 (CRISPR/Cas9) has already confirmed its proficiency, adaptability, and simplicity in several plant-based applications. Together with the availability of a vast amount of genome data and transcriptome data, CRISPR/Cas9 presents a massive opportunity for plant breeders and researchers. The successful delivery of ribonucleoproteins (RNPs), which are composed of Cas9 enzyme and a synthetically designed single guide RNA (sgRNA) and are used in combination with various transformation methods or lately available novel nanoparticle-based delivery approaches, allows targeted mutagenesis in plants species. Even though this editing technique is limitless, it has still not been employed in many plant species to date. Chickpea is the second most crucial winter grain crop cultivated worldwide; there are currently no reports on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in chickpea. Here, we selected the 4-coumarate ligase (4CL) and Reveille 7 (RVE7) genes, both associated with drought tolerance for CRISPR/Cas9 editing in chickpea protoplast. The 4CL represents a key enzyme involved in phenylpropanoid metabolism in the lignin biosynthesis pathway. It regulates the accumulation of lignin under stress conditions in several plants. The RVE7 is a MYB transcription factor which is part of regulating circadian rhythm in plants. The knockout of these selected genes in the chickpea protoplast using DNA-free CRISPR/Cas9 editing represents a novel approach for achieving targeted mutagenesis in chickpea. Results showed high-efficiency editing was achieved for RVE7 gene in vivo compared to the 4CL gene. This study will help unravel the role of these genes under drought stress and understand the complex drought stress mechanism pathways. This is the first study in chickpea protoplast utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 DNA free gene editing of drought tolerance associated genes.
Project description:Background:The development of genome editing technologies offers new prospects in improving bioenergy crops like switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Switchgrass is an outcrossing species with an allotetraploid genome (2n = 4x = 36), a complexity which forms an impediment to generating homozygous knock-out plants. Lignin, a major component of the plant cell wall and a contributor to cellulosic feedstock's recalcitrance to decomposition, stands as a barrier to efficient biofuel production by limiting enzyme access to cell wall polymers during the fermentation process. Results:We developed a CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system in switchgrass to target a key enzyme involved in the early steps of monolignol biosynthesis, 4-Coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (4CL). Three 4CL genes, Pv4CL1, Pv4CL2, and Pv4CL3, were identified in switchgrass. Expression analysis revealed that Pv4CL1 transcripts were more abundant in the stem than in the leaf, while Pv4CL2 transcripts were barely detectable and Pv4CL3 was mainly expressed in the leaf. Pv4CL1 was selected as the target for CRISPR/Cas9 editing because of its preferential expression in highly lignified stem tissues. Specific guide RNA was constructed to target Pv4CL1. After introducing the construct into switchgrass calli, 39 transgenic plants were regenerated. Using two rounds of PCR screening and sequencing, four plants were confirmed to have tetra-allelic mutations simultaneously. The Pv4CL1 knock-out plants had reduced cell wall thickness, an 8-30% reduction in total lignin content, a 7-11% increase in glucose release, and a 23-32% increase in xylose release. Conclusion:This study established a successful CRISPR/Cas9 system in switchgrass with mutation efficiency reaching 10%. The system allows the precise targeting of the selected Pv4CL1 gene to create switchgrass knock-out mutant plants with decreased lignin content and reduced recalcitrance.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To date, CRISPR/Cas9 RNP editing tools have not been applied to the genetic modification of banana. Here, the establishment of a PEG-mediated banana protoplast transformation system makes it possible to build an efficient DNA-free method for a site-directed mutagenesis system. RESULTS:Protoplasts constitute a versatile platform for transient expression in plant science. In this study, we established a PEG-mediated banana protoplast transformation system. This system was further optimized for successfully delivering CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cas12a plasmids and CRISPR/Cas9 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) for targeted delivery of the PDS gene into banana protoplasts. Specific bands were observed in PCR-Restriction Enzyme Digestion (PCR-RE) assays, and Sanger sequencing of single clones further confirmed the occurrence of indels at target sites. Deep amplicon sequencing results showed that the editing efficiency of the CRISPR/Cas9 system was higher than that of the other two systems. CONCLUSIONS:The PEG-mediated banana protoplast transformation system can serve as a rapid and effective tool for transient expression assays and sgRNA validation in banana. The application of the CRISPR/Cas9 RNP system enables the generation of banana plants engineered by DNA-free gene editing.
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9 (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR associated with protein CAS9) is a genome-editing tool that has been extensively used in the last five years because of its novelty, affordability, and feasibility. This technology has been developed in many plant species for gene function analysis and crop improvement but has never been used in chicory (Cichorium intybus L.). In this study, we successfully applied CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted mutagenesis to chicory using Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation and protoplast transfection methods. A U6 promoter (CiU6-1p) among eight predicted U6 promoters in chicory was selected to drive sgRNA expression. A binary vector designed to induce targeted mutations in the fifth exon of the chicory phytoene desaturase gene (CiPDS) was then constructed and used to transform chicory. The mutation frequency was 4.5% with the protoplast transient expression system and 31.25% with A. rhizogenes-mediated stable transformation. Biallelic mutations were detected in all the mutant plants. The use of A. rhizogenes-mediated transformation seems preferable as the regeneration of plants is faster and the mutation frequency was shown to be higher. With both transformation methods, foreign DNA was integrated in the plant genome. Hence, selection of vector (transgene)-free segregants is required. Our results showed that genome editing with CRISPR/Cas9 system can be efficiently used with chicory, which should facilitate and accelerate genetic improvement and functional biology.
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9 editing efficacies in tetraploid potato were highly improved through the use of endogenous potato U6 promoters. Highly increased editing efficiencies in the Granular Bound Starch Synthase gene at the protoplast level were obtained by replacement of the Arabidopsis U6 promotor, driving expression of the CRISPR component, with endogenous potato U6 promotors. This translated at the ex-plant level into 35% full allelic gene editing. Indel Detection Amplicon Analysis was established as an efficient tool for fast assessment of gene editing in complex genomes, such as potato. Together, this warrants significant reduction of laborious cell culturing, ex-plant regeneration and screening procedures of plants with high complexity genomes.
Project description:Delivery of genome editing reagents using CRISPR-Cas ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) transfection offers several advantages over plasmid DNA-based delivery methods, including reduced off-target editing effects, mitigation of random integration of non-native DNA fragments, independence of vector constructions, and less regulatory restrictions. Compared to the use in animal systems, RNP-mediated genome editing is still at the early development stage in plants. In this study, we established an efficient and simplified protoplast-based genome editing platform for CRISPR-Cas RNP delivery, and then evaluated the efficiency, specificity, and temperature sensitivity of six Cas9 and Cas12a proteins. Our results demonstrated that Cas9 and Cas12a RNP delivery resulted in genome editing frequencies (8.7-41.2%) at various temperature conditions, 22°C, 26°C, and 37°C, with no significant temperature sensitivity. LbCas12a often exhibited the highest activities, while AsCas12a demonstrated higher sequence specificity. The high activities of CRISPR-Cas RNPs at 22° and 26°C, the temperature preferred by plant transformation and tissue culture, led to high mutagenesis efficiencies (34.0-85.2%) in the protoplast-regenerated calli and plants with the heritable mutants recovered in the next generation. This RNP delivery approach was further extended to pennycress (<i>Thlaspi arvense</i>), soybean (<i>Glycine max</i>) and <i>Setaria viridis</i> with up to 70.2% mutagenesis frequency. Together, this study sheds light on the choice of RNP reagents to achieve efficient transgene-free genome editing in plants.
Project description:Genome-editing is being implemented in increasing number of plant species using engineered sequence specific nucleases (SSNs) such as Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR-associated systems (CRISPR/Cas9), Transcription activator like effector nucleases (TALENs), and more recently CRISPR/Cas12a. As the tissue culture and regeneration procedures to generate gene-edited events are time consuming, large-scale screening methodologies that rapidly facilitate validation of genome-editing reagents are critical. Plant protoplast cells provide a rapid platform to validate genome-editing reagents. Protoplast transfection with plasmids expressing genome-editing reagents represents an efficient and cost-effective method to screen for in vivo activity of genome-editing constructs and resulting targeted mutagenesis. In this study, we compared three existing methods for detection of editing activity, the T7 endonuclease I assay (T7EI), PCR/restriction enzyme (PCR/RE) digestion, and amplicon-sequencing, with an alternative method which involves tagging a double-stranded oligodeoxynucleotide (dsODN) into the SSN-induced double stranded break and detection of on-target activity of gene-editing reagents by PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis. To validate these methods, multiple reagents including TALENs, CRISPR/Cas9 and Cas9 variants, eCas9(1.1) (enhanced specificity) and Cas9-HF1 (high-fidelity1) were engineered for targeted mutagenesis of Acetolactate synthase1 (ALS1), 5-Enolpyruvylshikimate- 3-phosphate synthase1 (EPSPS1) and their paralogs in potato. While all methods detected editing activity, the PCR detection of dsODN integration provided the most straightforward and easiest method to assess on-target activity of the SSN as well as a method for initial qualitative evaluation of the functionality of genome-editing constructs. Quantitative data on mutagenesis frequencies obtained by amplicon-sequencing of ALS1 revealed that the mutagenesis frequency of CRISPR/Cas9 reagents is better than TALENs. Context-based choice of method for evaluation of gene-editing reagents in protoplast systems, along with advantages and limitations associated with each method, are discussed.
Project description:Background:Targeted genome editing using the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system has been applied in a large number of plant species. Using a gene-specific single guide RNA (sgRNA) and the CRISPR/Cas9 system, small editing events such as deletions of few bases can be obtained. However larger deletions are required for some applications. In addition, identification and characterization of edited events can be challenging in plants with complex genomes, such as wheat. Results:In this study, we used the CRISPR/Cas9 system and developed a protocol that yielded high number of large deletions employing a pair of co-expressed sgRNA to target the same gene. The protocol was validated by targeting three genes, TaABCC6, TaNFXL1 and TansLTP9.4 in a wheat protoplast assay. Deletions of sequences located between the two sgRNA in each gene were the most frequent editing events observed for two of the three genes. A comparative assessment of editing frequencies between a codon-optimized Cas9 for expression in algae, crCas9, and a plant codon-optimized Cas9, pcoCas9, showed more consistent results with the vector expressing pcoCas9. Editing of TaNFXL1 by co-expression of sgRNA pair was investigated in transgenic wheat plants. Given the ploidy of bread wheat, a rapid, robust and inexpensive genotyping protocol was also adapted for hexaploid genomes and shown to be a useful tool to identify homoeolog-specific editing events in wheat. Conclusions:Co-expressed pairs of sgRNA targeting single genes in conjunction with the CRISPR/Cas9 system produced large deletions in wheat. In addition, a genotyping protocol to identify editing events in homoeologs of TaNFXL1 was successfully adapted.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recently, the CRISPR/Cas9 system has been widely used to precisely edit plant genomes. Due to the difficulty in Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation of wheat, the reported applications in CRISPR/Cas9 system were all based on the biolistic transformation. RESULTS:In the present study, we efficiently applied targeted mutagenesis in common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) protoplasts and transgenic T0 plants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system delivered via Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Seven target sites in three genes (Pinb, waxy and DA1) were selected to construct individual expression vectors. The activities of the sgRNAs were evaluated by transforming the constructed vectors into wheat protoplasts. Mutations in the targets were detected by Illumina sequencing. Genome editing, including insertions or deletions at the target sites, was found in the wheat protoplast cells. The highest mutation efficiency was 6.8% in the DA1 gene. The CRISPR/Cas9 binary vector targeting the DA1 gene was then transformed into common wheat plants by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation, resulting in efficient target gene editing in the T0 generation. Thirteen mutant lines were generated, and the mutation efficiency was 54.17%. Mutations were found in the A and B genomes of the transgenic plants but not in the D genome. In addition, off-target mutations were not detected in regions that were highly homologous to the sgRNA sequences. CONCLUSIONS:Our results showed that our Agrobacterium-mediated CRISPR/Cas9 system can be used for targeted mutations and facilitated wheat genetic improvement.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>CRISPR/Cas9 is widely used for precise genetic editing in various organisms. CRISPR/Cas9 editing may in many plants be hampered by the presence of complex and high ploidy genomes and inefficient or poorly controlled delivery of the CRISPR/Cas9 components to gamete cells or cells with regenerative potential. Optimized strategies and methods to overcome these challenges are therefore in demand.<h4>Results</h4>In this study we investigated the feasibility of improving CRISPR/Cas9 editing efficiency by Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) of protoplasts. We used Agrobacterium infiltration in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana for delivery of viral replicons for high level expression of gRNAs designed to target two loci in the genome, NbPDS and NbRRA, together with the Cas9 nuclease in fusion with the 2A self-splicing sequence and GFP (Cas9-2A-GFP). Protoplasts isolated from the infiltrated leaves were then subjected to FACS for selection of GFP enriched protoplast populations. This procedure resulted in a 3-5 fold (from 20 to 30% in unsorted to more than 80% in sorted) increase in mutation frequencies as evidenced by restriction enzyme analysis and the Indel Detection by Amplicon Analysis, which allows for high throughput profiling and quantification of the generated mutations.<h4>Conclusions</h4>FACS of protoplasts expressing GFP tagged CRISPR/Cas9, delivered through A. tumefaciens leaf infiltration, facilitated clear CRISPR/Cas9 mediated mutation enrichment in selected protoplast populations.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Genome editing employing the CRISPR/Cas9 system has been widely used and has become a promising tool for plant gene functional studies and crop improvement. However, most of the applied CRISPR/Cas9 systems targeting one locus using a sgRNA resulted in low genome editing efficiency.<h4>Results</h4>Here, we demonstrate the modification of the FAD2 gene in rice using a multiplex sgRNA-CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system. To test the system's efficiency for targeting multiple loci in rice, we designed two sgRNAs based on FAD2 gene sequence of the Oryza sativa Japonica rice. We then inserted the validated sgRNAs into a CRISPR/Cas9 basic vector to construct pYLCRISPRCas9PUbi-H:OsFAD2. The vector was then transformed into protoplast cells isolated from rice leaf tissue via PEG-mediated transfection, and rice calli using biolistic transformation. Direct DNA sequencing of PCR products revealed mutations consisting of deletions of the DNA region between the two target sgRNAs.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The results suggested that the application of the multiplex sgRNA-CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system may be useful for crop improvement in monocot species that are recalcitrant to genetic modification, such as oil palm.