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RNA virus interference via CRISPR/Cas13a system in plants.

  • Author(s): Aman, Rashid;
  • Ali, Zahir;
  • Butt, Haroon;
  • Mahas, Ahmed;
  • Aljedaani, Fatimah;
  • Khan, Muhammad Zuhaib;
  • Ding, Shouwei;
  • Mahfouz, Magdy
  • et al.
Abstract

Background

CRISPR/Cas systems confer immunity against invading nucleic acids and phages in bacteria and archaea. CRISPR/Cas13a (known previously as C2c2) is a class 2 type VI-A ribonuclease capable of targeting and cleaving single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) molecules of the phage genome. Here, we employ CRISPR/Cas13a to engineer interference with an RNA virus, Turnip Mosaic Virus (TuMV), in plants.

Results

CRISPR/Cas13a produces interference against green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing TuMV in transient assays and stable overexpression lines of Nicotiana benthamiana. CRISPR RNA (crRNAs) targeting the HC-Pro and GFP sequences exhibit better interference than those targeting other regions such as coat protein (CP) sequence. Cas13a can also process pre-crRNAs into functional crRNAs.

Conclusions

Our data indicate that CRISPR/Cas13a can be used for engineering interference against RNA viruses, providing a potential novel mechanism for RNA-guided immunity against RNA viruses and for other RNA manipulations in plants.

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