Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR-Cas9-mediated Editing Reveals a Major Role of a SUMO Protease in Rice Salt Tolerance

February 27, 2019

A large family of genes in rice are responsible for the production of small ubiquitin-like modifiers (SUMOs), which are vital in responding to various environmental cues. In a previous study, it was demonstrated that the OsOTC class of SUMO proteases has a critical role in salt and drought stress through gene silencing or RNA interference. However, finding out the role of each family member is not possible with RNAi. Thus, Ari Sadanandom from Durham University and colleagues conducted another study using the CRISPR-Cas9 system for targeted mutagenesis of OsOTS1 in rice cultivar Kitaake.

Results showed that guided RNA mediated mutation in OsOTS1 was very effective with ~95% of the transgenic plants exhibiting the desired effect without off-target mutations observed. Furthermore, the mutations were heritable in the subsequent generations. OsOTS1 CRISPR lines showed improved sensitivity to salt with reduced root and shoot biomass indicating that OsOTS1 has a major role in salt stress tolerance in rice.

The results imply that precise and effective genome editing can be used to characterize the SUMO system in rice.

Read more results from BioRxiv.