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  1. Abstract

    CRISPR/Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR‐associated protein)‐mediated genome editing has revolutionized fundamental research and plant breeding. Beyond gene editing, CRISPR/Cas systems have been repurposed as a platform for programmable transcriptional regulation. Catalytically inactive Cas variants (dCas), when fused with transcriptional activation domains, allow for specific activation of any target gene in the genome without inducing DNA double‐strand breaks. CRISPR activation enables simultaneous activation of multiple genes, holding great promise in the identification of gene regulatory networks and rewiring of metabolic pathways. Here, we describe a simple protocol for constructing a dCas9‐mediated multiplexed gene activation system based on the CRISPR‐Act3.0 system. The resulting vectors are tested in rice protoplasts. © 2022 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

    Basic Protocol 1: sgRNA design and construction of CRISPR‐Act3.0 vectors for multiplexed gene activation

    Basic Protocol 2: Determining the activation efficiency of CRISPR‐Act3.0 vectors using rice protoplasts

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  2. Summary

    Cytosine base editors (CBEs) are great additions to the expanding genome editing toolbox. To improve C‐to‐T base editing in plants, we first compared seven cytidine deaminases in the BE3‐like configuration in rice. We found A3A/Y130F‐CBE_V01 resulted in the highest C‐to‐T base editing efficiency in both rice andArabidopsis. Furthermore, we demonstrated this A3A/Y130F cytidine deaminase could be used to improve iSpyMacCas9‐mediated C‐to‐T base editing at A‐rich PAMs. To showcase its applications, we first applied A3A/Y130F‐CBE_V01 for multiplexed editing to generate microRNA‐resistant mRNA transcripts as well as pre‐mature stop codons in multiple seed trait genes. In addition, we harnessed A3A/Y130F‐CBE_V01 for efficient artificial evolution of novelALSandEPSPSalleles which conferred herbicide resistance in rice. To further improve C‐to‐T base editing, multiple CBE_V02, CBE_V03 and CBE_V04 systems were developed and tested in rice protoplasts. The CBE_V04 systems were found to have improved editing activity and purity with focal recruitment of more uracil DNA glycosylase inhibitors (UGIs) by the engineered single guide RNA 2.0 scaffold. Finally, we used whole‐genome sequencing (WGS) to compare six CBE_V01 systems and four CBE_V04 systems for genome‐wide off‐target effects in rice. Different levels of cytidine deaminase‐dependent and sgRNA‐independent off‐target effects were indeed revealed by WGS among edited lines by these CBE systems. We also investigated genome‐wide sgRNA‐dependent off‐target effects by different CBEs in rice. This comprehensive study compared 21 different CBE systems, and benchmarked PmCDA1‐CBE_V04 and A3A/Y130F‐CBE_V04 as next‐generation plant CBEs with high editing efficiency, purity, and specificity.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
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  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  8. The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated (Cas) system is widely used as a genome-editing tool in various organisms, including plants, to elucidate the fundamental understanding of gene function, disease diagnostics, and crop improvement. Among the CRISPR/Cas systems, Cas9 is one of the widely used nucleases for DNA modifications, but manipulation of RNA at the post-transcriptional level is limited. The recently identified type VI CRISPR/Cas systems provide a platform for precise RNA manipulation without permanent changes to the genome. Several studies reported efficient application of Cas13 in RNA studies, such as viral interference, RNA knockdown, and RNA detection in various organisms. Cas13 was also used to produce virus resistance in plants, as most plant viruses are RNA viruses. However, the application of CRISPR/Cas13 to studies of plant RNA biology is still in its infancy. This review discusses the current and prospective applications of CRISPR/Cas13-based RNA editing technologies in plants. 
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