Link to home

CRISPR-Cas mediated RNA modulation for improved plant defense

Veerendra Sharma: Kansas State University

<div>Application of the prokaryotic immune system, defined by <em>c</em>lustered <em>r</em>egularly <em>i</em>nterspaced <em>s</em>hort <em>p</em>alindromic <em>r</em>epeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR associated (Cas) proteins, for eukaryotic genome editing has significantly impacted diverse biologic fields. The CRISPR-Cas system targeting DNA has been used to delete DNA, direct gene insertion, gene-drive, DNA viral resistance, transcriptional regulation and epigenome modification. One area of interest, is the use of CRISPR-Cas for targeted gene deletion in crops to improve agronomics. However, removing or inactivating a gene(s) can result in unanticipated negative pleiotropic effects. Additionally, the use of the CRISPR-Cas system for anti-viral immunity is limited to targeting DNA viruses. To overcome these challenges, we have developed a newly described RNA-guided RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas system for use in plants. We are developing the system for two purposes- 1) to direct viral resistance to both DNA and RNA viruses; 2) regulate plant defense through mRNA degradation and translational manipulation. The ability to target and manipulate mRNA will open the door to a range of new applications, continuing the innovative use of the prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas system to study and improve crops.</div>