Base-Editing-Mediated Artificial Evolution of OsALS1 In Planta to Develop Novel Herbicide-Tolerant Rice Germplasms
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMolecular Plant. 2020, 13 (4), 565-572. 10.1016/j.molp.2020.01.010
Recently developed CRISPR-mediated base editors, which enable the generation of numerous nucleotide changes in target genomic regions, have been widely adopted for gene correction and generation of crop germplasms containing important gain-of-function genetic variations. However, to engineer target genes with unknown functional SNPs remains challenging. To address this issue, we present here a base-editing-mediated gene evolution (BEMGE) method, employing both Cas9n-based cytosine and adenine base editors as well as a single-guide RNA (sgRNA) library tiling the full-length coding region, for developing novel rice germplasms with mutations in any endogenous gene. To this end, OsALS1 was artificially evolved in rice cells using BEMGE through both Agrobacterium-mediated and particle-bombardment-mediated transformation. Four different types of amino acid substitutions in the evolved OsALS1, derived from two sites that have never been targeted by natural or human selection during rice domestication, were identified, conferring varying levels of tolerance to the herbicide bispyribac-sodium. Furthermore, the P171F substitution identified in a strong OsALS1 allele was quickly introduced into the commercial rice cultivar Nangeng 46 through precise base editing with the corresponding base editor and sgRNA. Collectively, these data indicate great potential of BEMGE in creating important genetic variants of target genes for crop improvement.