Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight (LB) in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.), is a devastating disease and a serious concern for plant productivity. The presence of susceptibility (S) genes in plants facilitates pathogen proliferation; thus, disabling these genes may help provide a broad-spectrum and durable type of tolerance/resistance. Previous studies on Arabidopsis and tomato have highlighted that knock-out mutants of the PMR4 susceptibility gene are tolerant to powdery mildew. Moreover, PMR4 knock-down in potato has been shown to confer tolerance to LB. To verify the same effect in tomato in the present study, a CRISPR-Cas9 vector containing four single guide RNAs (sgRNAs: sgRNA1, sgRNA6, sgRNA7, and sgRNA8), targeting as many SlPMR4 regions, was introduced via Agrobacterium-tumefaciens-mediated transformation into two widely grown Italian tomato cultivars: 'San Marzano' (SM) and 'Oxheart' (OX). Thirty-five plants (twenty-six SM and nine OX) were selected and screened to identify the CRISPR/Cas9-induced mutations. The different sgRNAs caused mutation frequencies ranging from 22.1 to 100% and alternatively precise insertions (sgRNA6) or deletions (sgRNA7, sgRNA1, and sgRNA8). Notably, sgRNA7 induced in seven SM genotypes a -7 bp deletion in the homozygous status, whereas sgRNA8 led to the production of fifteen SM genotypes with a biallelic mutation (-7 bp and -2 bp). Selected edited lines were inoculated with P. infestans, and four of them, fully knocked out at the PMR4 locus, showed reduced disease symptoms (reduction in susceptibility from 55 to 80%) compared to control plants. The four SM lines were sequenced using Illumina whole-genome sequencing for deeper characterization without exhibiting any evidence of mutations in the candidate off-target regions. Our results showed, for the first time, a reduced susceptibility to Phytophtora infestans in pmr4 tomato mutants confirming the role of KO PMR4 in providing broad-spectrum protection against pathogens.

CRISPR/Cas9-Based Knock-Out of the PMR4 Gene Reduces Susceptibility to Late Blight in Two Tomato Cultivars

Li, Ruiling;Maioli, Alex;Valentino, Danila;Milani, Anna Maria;Pompili, Valerio;Comino, Cinzia;Lanteri, Sergio;Moglia, Andrea;Acquadro, Alberto
2022-01-01

Abstract

Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight (LB) in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.), is a devastating disease and a serious concern for plant productivity. The presence of susceptibility (S) genes in plants facilitates pathogen proliferation; thus, disabling these genes may help provide a broad-spectrum and durable type of tolerance/resistance. Previous studies on Arabidopsis and tomato have highlighted that knock-out mutants of the PMR4 susceptibility gene are tolerant to powdery mildew. Moreover, PMR4 knock-down in potato has been shown to confer tolerance to LB. To verify the same effect in tomato in the present study, a CRISPR-Cas9 vector containing four single guide RNAs (sgRNAs: sgRNA1, sgRNA6, sgRNA7, and sgRNA8), targeting as many SlPMR4 regions, was introduced via Agrobacterium-tumefaciens-mediated transformation into two widely grown Italian tomato cultivars: 'San Marzano' (SM) and 'Oxheart' (OX). Thirty-five plants (twenty-six SM and nine OX) were selected and screened to identify the CRISPR/Cas9-induced mutations. The different sgRNAs caused mutation frequencies ranging from 22.1 to 100% and alternatively precise insertions (sgRNA6) or deletions (sgRNA7, sgRNA1, and sgRNA8). Notably, sgRNA7 induced in seven SM genotypes a -7 bp deletion in the homozygous status, whereas sgRNA8 led to the production of fifteen SM genotypes with a biallelic mutation (-7 bp and -2 bp). Selected edited lines were inoculated with P. infestans, and four of them, fully knocked out at the PMR4 locus, showed reduced disease symptoms (reduction in susceptibility from 55 to 80%) compared to control plants. The four SM lines were sequenced using Illumina whole-genome sequencing for deeper characterization without exhibiting any evidence of mutations in the candidate off-target regions. Our results showed, for the first time, a reduced susceptibility to Phytophtora infestans in pmr4 tomato mutants confirming the role of KO PMR4 in providing broad-spectrum protection against pathogens.
2022
23
23
14542
14542
CRISPR/Cas9; PMR4 gene; Phytophthora infestans; Solanum lycopersicum L; susceptibility
Li, Ruiling; Maioli, Alex; Yan, Zhe; Bai, Yuling; Valentino, Danila; Milani, Anna Maria; Pompili, Valerio; Comino, Cinzia; Lanteri, Sergio; Moglia, Andrea; Acquadro, Alberto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1885111
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