Biotech Updates

Researchers Engineer Potyvirus Resistance in Arabidopsis Using CRISPR/Cas9

November 23, 2016

The eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF) gene family, including eIF4E and its paralogue eIF(iso)4E, have been identified as recessive resistance alleles against potyviruses. However, the information on these alleles is often limited. Douglas E. Pyott from University of Edinburgh, United Kingdon used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to introduce sequence-specific deleterious point mutations at the eIF(iso)4E locus in Arabidopsis thaliana to engineer resistance to Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

By segregating the induced mutation from the CRISPR/Cas9 transgene, the team designed a framework for the production of heritable, homozygous mutations in the transgene-free T2 generation in self-pollinating species. Analysis of dry weights and flowering times for four independent T3 lines revealed no differences from wildtype plants, implying that mutations in eIF(iso)4E do not affect plant vigor.

This study showed that CRISPR/Cas9 technology can be a new approach for generating Potyvirus resistance alleles in important crops without the use of transgenes.

For more information on the study, read the article in Molecular Plant Pathology.