Crop Biotech Update

ZFN Used to Study Rice SSIVa Gene

February 21, 2018

One of the popular genome editing technologies used in plants is the Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN), which are proteins composed of a zinc finger-based DNA binding domain and a DNA cleavage domain. The team of Yu-Jin Jung of the Hankyong National University in South Korea used ZFNs to target SSIVa, a soluble starch synthase involved in starch biosynthesis pathway.

The team used ZFN-mediated targeted gene disruption on the SSIVa rice gene in order to study the role of the gene. Analysis of the edited plants revealed the absence of SSIVa mRNAs as well as low starch contents and dwarf phenotypes. Interestingly, the analysis also showed that SSIVa had no effect on other starch synthesis related genes since their expressions remained the same with the wildtype levels.

Therefore, the engineered ZFNs induced mutations at SSIVa locus in rice resulting in changes in plant height and starch content.

For more on this study, read the article in Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering.