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  1. Abstract

    Until recently, precise genome editing has been limited to a few organisms. The ability of Cas9 to generate double stranded DNA breaks at specific genomic sites has greatly expanded molecular toolkits in many organisms and cell types. Before CRISPR‐Cas9 mediated genome editing,P. patenswas unique among plants in its ability to integrate DNA via homologous recombination. However, selection for homologous recombination events was required to obtain edited plants, limiting the types of editing that were possible. Now with CRISPR‐Cas9, molecular manipulations inP. patenshave greatly expanded. This protocol describes a method to generate a variety of different genome edits. The protocol describes a streamlined method to generate the Cas9/sgRNA expression constructs, design homology templates, transform, and quickly genotype plants. © 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

    Basic Protocol 1: Constructing the Cas9/sgRNA transient expression vector

    Alternate Protocol 1: Shortcut to generating single and pooled Cas9/sgRNA expression vectors

    Basic Protocol 2: Designing the oligonucleotide‐based homology‐directed repair (HDR) template

    Alternate Protocol 2: Designing the plasmid‐based HDR template

    Basic Protocol 3: Inducing genome editing by transforming CRISPR vector intoP. patensprotoplasts

    Basic Protocol 4: Identifying edited plants.

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  2. Abstract

    CRISPR‐Cas9 has been shown to be a valuable tool in recent years, allowing researchers to precisely edit the genome using an RNA‐guided nuclease to initiate double‐strand breaks. Until recently, classical RAD51‐mediated homologous recombination has been a powerful tool for gene targeting in the mossPhyscomitrella patens. However, CRISPR‐Cas9‐mediated genome editing inP. patenswas shown to be more efficient than traditional homologous recombination (Plant Biotechnology Journal, 15, 2017, 122). CRISPR‐Cas9 provides the opportunity to efficiently edit the genome at multiple loci as well as integrate sequences at precise locations in the genome using a simple transient transformation. To fully take advantage of CRISPR‐Cas9 genome editing inP. patens, here we describe the generation and use of a flexible and modular CRISPR‐Cas9 vector system. Without the need for gene synthesis, this vector system enables editing of up to 12 loci simultaneously. Using this system, we generated multiple lines that had null alleles at four distant loci. We also found that targeting multiple sites within a single locus can produce larger deletions, but the success of this depends on individual protospacers. To take advantage of homology‐directed repair, we developed modular vectors to rapidly generate DNA donor plasmids to efficiently introduce DNA sequences encoding for fluorescent proteins at the 5′ and 3′ ends of gene coding regions. With regard to homology‐directed repair experiments, we found that if the protospacer sequence remains on the DNA donor plasmid, then Cas9 cleaves the plasmid target as well as the genomic target. This can reduce the efficiency of introducing sequences into the genome. Furthermore, to ensure the generation of a null allele near the Cas9 cleavage site, we generated a homology plasmid harboring a “stop codon cassette” with downstream near‐effortless genotyping.

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  3. Abstract Coat Protein complex II (COPII), a coat protein complex that forms vesicles on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), mediates trafficking to the Golgi. While metazoans have few genes encoding each COPII component, plants have expanded these gene families, leading to the hypothesis that plant COPII has functionally diversified. In the moss Physcomitrium (Physcomitrella) patens, the Sec23/24 gene families are each composed of seven genes. Silencing Sec23/24 revealed isoform-specific contributions to polarized growth, with the closely related Sec23D/E and Sec24C/D essential for protonemal development. Focusing on Sec23, we discovered that Sec23D/E mediate ER-to Golgi transport and are essential for tip growth, with Sec23D localizing to presumptive ER exit sites. In contrast, Sec23A, B, C, F, and G are dispensable and do not quantitatively affect ER-to-Golgi trafficking. However, Δsec23abcfg plants exhibited reduced secretion of plasma membrane cargo. Of the four highly expressed protonemal Sec23 genes, Sec23F/G are members of a divergent Sec23 clade specifically retained in land plants. Notably, Sec23G accumulates on ER-associated foci that are significantly larger, do not overlap with, and are independent of Sec23D. While Sec23D/E form ER exit sites and function as bona fide COPII components essential for tip-growing protonemata, Sec23G and the closely related Sec23F have likely functionally diversified, forming separate and independent ER exit sites and participating in Golgi-independent trafficking pathways. 
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  4. Coordination between actin and microtubules is important for numerous cellular processes in diverse eukaryotes. In plants, tip-growing cells require actin for cell expansion and microtubules for orientation of cell expansion, but how the two cytoskeletons are linked is an open question. In tip-growing cells of the moss Physcomitrella patens , we show that an actin cluster near the cell apex dictates the direction of rapid cell expansion. Formation of this structure depends on the convergence of microtubules near the cell tip. We discovered that microtubule convergence requires class VIII myosin function, and actin is necessary for myosin VIII–mediated focusing of microtubules. The loss of myosin VIII function affects both networks, indicating functional connections among the three cytoskeletal components. Our data suggest that microtubules direct localization of formins, actin nucleation factors, that generate actin filaments further focusing microtubules, thereby establishing a positive feedback loop ensuring that actin polymerization and cell expansion occur at a defined site resulting in persistent polarized growth. 
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