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Engineering resistance against Tomato yellow leaf curl virus via the CRISPR/Cas9 system in tomato

posted on 05.10.2018, 13:21 by Manal Tashkandi, Zahir Ali, Fatimah Aljedaani, Ashwag Shami, Magdy M. Mahfouz

CRISPR/Cas systems confer molecular immunity against phages and conjugative plasmids in prokaryotes. Recently, CRISPR/Cas9 systems have been used to confer interference against eukaryotic viruses. Here, we engineered Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants with the CRISPR/Cas9 system to confer immunity against the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). Targeting the TYLCV genome with Cas9-single guide RNA at the sequences encoding the coat protein (CP) or replicase (Rep) resulted in efficient virus interference, as evidenced by low accumulation of the TYLCV DNA genome in the transgenic plants. The CRISPR/Cas9-based immunity remained active across multiple generations in the N. benthamiana and tomato plants. Together, our results confirmed the efficiency of the CRISPR/Cas9 system for stable engineering of TYLCV resistance in N. benthamiana and tomato, and opens the possibilities of engineering virus resistance against single and multiple infectious viruses in other crops.


This work was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology [OSR-2015-CRG4-2647].