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Title: Efficient CRISPR-Cas9 based cytosine base editors for phytopathogenic bacteria

Phytopathogenic bacteria play important roles in plant productivity, and developments in gene editing have potential for enhancing the genetic tools for the identification of critical genes in the pathogenesis process. CRISPR-based genome editing variants have been developed for a wide range of applications in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. However, the unique mechanisms of different hosts restrict the wide adaptation for specific applications. Here, CRISPR-dCas9 (dead Cas9) and nCas9 (Cas9 nickase) deaminase vectors were developed for a broad range of phytopathogenic bacteria. A gene for a dCas9 or nCas9, cytosine deaminase CDA1, and glycosylase inhibitor fusion protein (cytosine base editor, or CBE) was applied to base editing under the control of different promoters. Results showed that the RecA promoter led to nearly 100% modification of the target region. When residing on the broad host range plasmid pHM1, CBERecApis efficient in creating base edits in strains ofXanthomonas,Pseudomonas,ErwiniaandAgrobacterium. CBE based on nCas9 extended the editing window and produced a significantly higher editing rate inPseudomonas. Strains with nonsynonymous mutations in test genes displayed expected phenotypes. By multiplexing guide RNA genes, the vectors can modify up to four genes in a single round of editing. Whole-genome sequencing of base-edited isolates ofXanthomonas oryzaepv.oryzaerevealed guide RNA-independent off-target more » mutations. Further modifications of the CBE, using a CDA1 variant (CBERecAp-A) reduced off-target effects, providing an improved editing tool for a broad group of phytopathogenic bacteria.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Communications Biology
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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