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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2025
  2. The kinetochore scaffold 1 (KNL1) protein recruits spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) proteins to ensure accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. Despite such a conserved function among eukaryotic organisms, its molecular architectures have rapidly evolved so that the functional mode of plant KNL1 is largely unknown. To understand how SAC signaling is regulated at kinetochores, we characterized the function of theKNL1gene inArabidopsis thaliana. The KNL1 protein was detected at kinetochores throughout the mitotic cell cycle, and nullknl1mutants were viable and fertile but exhibited severe vegetative and reproductive defects. The mutant cells showed serious impairments of chromosome congression and segregation, that resulted in the formation of micronuclei. In the absence of KNL1, core SAC proteins were no longer detected at the kinetochores, and the SAC was not activated by unattached or misaligned chromosomes. Arabidopsis KNL1 interacted with SAC essential proteins BUB3.3 and BMF3 through specific regions that were not found in known KNL1 proteins of other species, and recruited them independently to kinetochores. Furthermore, we demonstrated that upon ectopic expression, the KNL1 homolog from the dicot tomato was able to functionally substitute KNL1 inA.thaliana, while others from the monocot rice or moss associated with kinetochores but were not functional, as reflected by sequence variations of the kinetochore proteins in different plant lineages. Our results brought insights into understanding the rapid evolution and lineage-specific connection between KNL1 and the SAC signaling molecules.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 9, 2025
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  4. Prime editing (PE) technology enables precise alterations in the genetic code of a genome of interest. PE offers great potential for identifying major agronomically important genes in plants and editing them into superior variants, ideally targeting multiple loci simultaneously to realize the collective effects of the edits. Here, we report the development of a modular assembly-based multiplex PE system in rice and demonstrate its efficacy in editing up to four genes in a single transformation experiment. The duplex PE (DPE) system achieved a co-editing efficiency of 46.1% in the T0 generation, converting TFIIAγ5 to xa5 and xa23 to Xa23SW11. The resulting double-mutant lines exhibited robust broad-spectrum resistance against multiple Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzae (Xoo) strains in the T1 generation. In addition, we successfully edited OsEPSPS1 to an herbicide-tolerant variant and OsSWEET11a to a Xoo-resistant allele, achieving a co-editing rate of 57.14%. Furthermore, with the quadruple PE (QPE) system, we edited four genes-two for herbicide tolerance (OsEPSPS1 and OsALS1) and two for Xoo resistance (TFIIAγ5 and OsSWEET11a)-using one construct, with a co-editing efficiency of 43.5% for all four genes in the T0 generation. We performed multiplex PE using five more constructs, including two for triplex PE (TPE) and three for QPE, each targeting a different set of genes. The editing rates were dependent on the activity of pegRNA and/or ngRNA. For instance, optimization of ngRNA increased the PE rates for one of the targets (OsSPL13) from 0% to 30% but did not improve editing at another target (OsGS2). Overall, our modular assembly-based system yielded high PE rates and streamlined the cloning of PE reagents, making it feasible for more labs to utilize PE for their editing experiments. These findings have significant implications for advancing gene editing techniques in plants and may pave the way for future agricultural applications. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
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