Attila Molnar, Douglas E. Pyott, and Emma Sheehan, University of Edinburgh, UK, successfully used CRISPR/Cas9 to engineer complete resistance to the Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV), a major pathogen in field-grown vegetable crops, in Arabidopsis thaliana or thale cress. This plant is used as a model for understanding the molecular biology of many plant traits.
The team introduced sequence-specific deleterious point mutations at the eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF) (iso)4E locus in Arabidopsis thaliana. Members of the eIF gene family, including eIF4E and its paralogue eIF(iso)4E, have previously been identified as recessive resistance alleles against various potyviruses in different hosts.
The researchers found evidence that the homozygous mutations in eIF(iso)4E do not affect any plant abilities. The team suggests CRISPR/Cas9 technology as a new approach to develop Potyvirus resistance alleles in important crops without using persistent transgenes.
- Engineering of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated potyvirus resistance in transgene-free Arabidopsis plants,
Douglas E. Pyott, Emma Sheehan, Attila Molnar,
Mol. Plant Pathol. 2016, 17, 1276–1288.