Published on Mon Apr 19 2021

CRISPR-Cas12a genome editing at the whole-plant level using two compatible RNA virus vectors

Uranga, M., Vazquez-Vilar, M., Orzaez, D., Daros, J.-A.

The use of viral vectors that can replicate and move systemically through the host plant enables genome editing at the whole-plant level. This approach usually relies on previously transformed plants that stably express a CRISPR-associated (Cas) nuclease.

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Abstract

The use of viral vectors that can replicate and move systemically through the host plant to deliver bacterial clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) components enables genome editing at the whole-plant level and avoids the requirement for labor-intensive stable transformation. However, this approach usually relies on previously transformed plants that stably express a CRISPR-associated (Cas) nuclease. Here we describe successful DNA-free genome editing of Nicotiana benthamiana using two compatible RNA virus vectors, derived from tobacco etch virus (TEV; genus Potyvirus) and potato virus X (PVX; genus Potexvirus), which replicate in the same cells. The TEV and PVX vectors respectively express a Cas12a nuclease and the corresponding guide RNA. This novel two-virus vector system improves the toolbox for transformation-free virus-induced genome editing in plants and will advance efforts to breed more nutritious, resistant, and productive crops.