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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Adenine base editors (ABEs) are valuable, precise genome editing tools in plants. In recent years, the highly promising ADENINE BASE EDITOR8e (ABE8e) was reported for efficient A-to-G editing. However, compared to monocots, comprehensive off-target analyses for ABE8e are lacking in dicots. To determine the occurrence of off-target effects in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), we assessed ABE8e and a high-fidelity version, ABE8e-HF, at 2 independent target sites in protoplasts, as well as stable T0 lines. Since ABE8e demonstrated higher on-target efficiency than ABE8e-HF in tomato protoplasts, we focused on ABE8e for off-target analyses in T0 lines. We conducted whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of wild-type (WT) tomato plants, green fluorescent protein (GFP)–expressing T0 lines, ABE8e-no-gRNA control T0 lines, and edited T0 lines. No guide RNA (gRNA)–dependent off-target edits were detected. Our data showed an average of approximately 1,200 to 1,500 single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) in either GFP control plants or base-edited plants. Also, no specific enrichment of A-to-G mutations were found in base-edited plants. We also conducted RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of the same 6 base-edited and 3 GFP control T0 plants. On average, approximately 150 RNA–level SNVs were discovered per plant for either base-edited or GFP controls. Furthermore, we did not find enrichment of a TA motif on mutated adenine in the genomes and transcriptomes in base-edited tomato plants, as opposed to the recent discovery in rice (Oryza sativa). Hence, we could not find evidence for genome- and transcriptome-wide off-target effects by ABE8e in tomato.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 14, 2024
  3. Abstract

    The nuclear lamina in plant cells is composed of plant-specific proteins, including nuclear matrix constituent proteins (NMCPs), which have been postulated to be functional analogs of lamin proteins that provide structural integrity to the organelle and help stabilize the three-dimensional organization of the genome. Using genomic editing, we generated alleles for the three genes encoding NMCPs in cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) to determine if the consequences of perturbing the nuclear lamina in this crop species were similar to or distinct from those observed in the model Arabidopsis thaliana. Loss of the sole NMCP2-class protein was lethal in tomato but is tolerated in Arabidopsis. Moreover, depletion of NMCP1-type nuclear lamina proteins leads to distinct developmental phenotypes in tomato, including leaf morphology defects and reduced root growth rate (in nmcp1b mutants), compared with cognate mutants in Arabidopsis. These findings suggest that the nuclear lamina interfaces with different developmental and signaling pathways in tomato compared with Arabidopsis. At the subcellular level, however, tomato nmcp mutants resembled their Arabidopsis counterparts in displaying smaller and more spherical nuclei in differentiated cells. This result argues that the plant nuclear lamina facilitates nuclear shape distortion in response to forces exerted on the organelle within the cell.

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  4. Abstract The highly diverse Solanaceae family contains several widely studied models and crop species. Fully exploring, appreciating, and exploiting this diversity requires additional model systems. Particularly promising are orphan fruit crops in the genus Physalis, which occupy a key evolutionary position in the Solanaceae and capture understudied variation in traits such as inflorescence complexity, fruit ripening and metabolites, disease and insect resistance, self-compatibility, and most notable, the striking inflated calyx syndrome (ICS), an evolutionary novelty found across angiosperms where sepals grow exceptionally large to encapsulate fruits in a protective husk. We recently developed transformation and genome editing in Physalis grisea (groundcherry). However, to systematically explore and unlock the potential of this and related Physalis as genetic systems, high-quality genome assemblies are needed. Here, we present chromosome-scale references for P. grisea and its close relative Physalis pruinosa and use these resources to study natural and engineered variations in floral traits. We first rapidly identified a natural structural variant in a bHLH gene that causes petal color variation. Further, and against expectations, we found that CRISPR–Cas9-targeted mutagenesis of 11 MADS-box genes, including purported essential regulators of ICS, had no effect on inflation. In a forward genetics screen, we identified huskless, which lacks ICS due to mutation of an AP2-like gene that causes sepals and petals to merge into a single whorl of mixed identity. These resources and findings elevate Physalis to a new Solanaceae model system and establish a paradigm in the search for factors driving ICS. 
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  5. Abstract

    Poleroviruses, enamoviruses, and luteoviruses are icosahedral, positive sense RNA viruses that cause economically important diseases in food and fiber crops. They are transmitted by phloem-feeding aphids in a circulative manner that involves the movement across and within insect tissues. The N-terminal portion of the viral readthrough domain (NRTD) has been implicated as a key determinant of aphid transmission in each of these genera. Here, we report crystal structures of theNRTDs from the poleroviruses turnip yellow virus (TuYV) and potato leafroll virus (PLRV) at 1.53-Å and 2.22-Å resolution, respectively. These adopt a two-domain arrangement with a unique interdigitated topology and form highly conserved dimers that are stabilized by a C-terminal peptide that is critical for proper folding. We demonstrate that the PLRVNRTD can act as an inhibitor of virus transmission and identifyNRTD mutant variants that are lethal to aphids. Sequence conservation argues that enamovirus and luteovirusNRTDs will follow the same structural blueprint, which affords a biological approach to block the spread of these agricultural pathogens in a generalizable manner.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Cytosine base editors (CBEs) are promising tools for precise genome editing in plants. It is important to investigate potential off-target effects of an efficient CBE at the genome and transcriptome levels in a major crop. Based on comparison of five cytidine deaminases and two different promoters for expressing sgRNAs, we tested a highly efficient A3A/Y130F-BE3 system for efficient C-to-T base editing in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). We then conducted whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of four base-edited tomato plants, three GFP-expressing control plants, and two wild-type (WT) plants. The sequencing depths ranged from 25X to 49X with read mapping rates above 97%. No sgRNA-dependent off-target mutations were detected. Our data show an average of ∼1000 single nucleotide variations (SNVs) and ∼100 insertions and deletions (indels) per GFP control plant. Base-edited plants had on average elevated levels of SNVs (∼1250) and indels (∼300) per plant. On average, about 200 more C-to-T (G-to-A) mutations were found in a base-edited plant than a GFP control plant, suggesting some level of sgRNA-independent off-target effects, though the difference is not statistically significant. We also conducted RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of the same four base-edited plants and three GFP control plants. An average of ∼200 RNA SNVs was discovered per plant for either base-edited or GFP control plants. Furthermore, no specific enrichment of C-to-U mutations can be found in the base-edited plants. Hence, we cannot find any evidence for bona fide off-target mutations by A3A/Y130F-BE3 at the transcriptome level. 
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  7. Most plant roots have multiple cortex layers that make up the bulk of the organ and play key roles in physiology, such as flood tolerance and symbiosis. However, little is known about the formation of cortical layers outside of the highly reduced anatomy of Arabidopsis . Here, we used single-cell RNA sequencing to rapidly generate a cell-resolution map of the maize root, revealing an alternative configuration of the tissue formative transcription factor SHORT-ROOT (SHR) adjacent to an expanded cortex. We show that maize SHR protein is hypermobile, moving at least eight cell layers into the cortex. Higher-order SHR mutants in both maize and Setaria have reduced numbers of cortical layers, showing that the SHR pathway controls expansion of cortical tissue to elaborate anatomical complexity. 
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