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New Strategies to Overcome Present CRISPR/Cas9 Limitations in Apple and Pear: Efficient Dechimerization and Base Editing

Abstract : 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 phytoene desaturase (PDS) 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: acetolactate synthase-ALS (conferring resistance to chlorsulfuron) and PDS. 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 ALS and PDS 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.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03122463
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 4:12:50 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 3:56:06 PM

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Jaiana Malabarba, Elisabeth Chevreau, Nicolas Dousset, Florian Veillet, Julie Moizan, et al.. New Strategies to Overcome Present CRISPR/Cas9 Limitations in Apple and Pear: Efficient Dechimerization and Base Editing. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, MDPI, 2021, 22 (1), pp.319. ⟨10.3390/ijms22010319⟩. ⟨hal-03122463⟩

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