Plant Biotechnology Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 501–510 | Cite as

CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of CsWRKY22 reduces susceptibility to Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri in Wanjincheng orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck)

  • Lijuan Wang
  • Shanchun Chen
  • Aihong Peng
  • Zhu Xie
  • Yongrui He
  • Xiuping ZouEmail author
Original Article


Key message

CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of CsWRKY22 repressed canker development in Wanjincheng orange.


Citrus canker, a destructive disease of citrus, is threatening the citrus industry worldwide. Breeding resistant cultivars is the most economical and effective approach to control citrus canker. Recently, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing was demonstrated to be a powerful tool for the improvement of citrus resistance to the disease. In our previous works, we confirmed that CsWRKY22 is involved in the plant immunity response to citrus canker in Wanjincheng orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck). In this study, we targeted this gene to improve the resistance of Wanjincheng orange against citrus canker by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing. Sanger sequencing confirmed that CsWRKY22 in Wanjincheng orange contains CsWRKY22G and CsWRKY22C alleles, and the ratio of CsWRKY22G to CsWRKY22C is approximately 2:1. Four sgRNAs, which targeted the first exon of CsWRKY22, were selected for testing. In vitro cleavage activity analysis showed that two (W1 and W2) of the four sgRNAs displayed robust cleavage activities using PCR amplicons from the Wanjincheng orange genome as template. Subsequently, two constructs, pCas9/WRKY22sgRNA-W1 and pCas9/WRKY22sgRNA-W2, were used to modify the CsWRKY22. Three mutant plants were identified from seven independent transgenic plants. Based on Sanger sequencing, the W1-1, W2-2, and W2-3 mutant lines displayed 85.7%, 79.2%, and 68.2% mutation rates, respectively. Resistance evaluation indicated that the mutant plants showed decreased susceptibility to citrus canker. These results indicate that CRISPR/Cas9-targeted gene modification is an efficient approach for enhancing disease resistance in citrus.


Citrus canker Susceptibility CsWRKY22 Genome editing CRISPR/Cas9 



This study was supported by grants from National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFD0201500, to XZ), the Earmarked Fund for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-26, to SC), and the Natural Science Foundation Project of CQ (cstc2017jcyjBX0020 and cstc2016shms-ztzx80001, to XZ and YH, respectively). We thank Robert McKenzie, PhD, from Liwen Bianji, Edanz Group China (, for editing the English text of a draft of this manuscript.

Author contribution

XZ designed the experiments and wrote the manuscript. LW performed in vitro cleavage activity analysis and citrus transformation. AP performed mutation analysis. ZX performed vector construction. YH performed citrus canker resistance evaluation. SC revised the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11816_2019_556_MOESM1_ESM.xls (30 kb)
Supplementary file1 (XLS 30 kb)
11816_2019_556_MOESM2_ESM.docx (670 kb)
Supplementary file2 (DOCX 669 kb)


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Plant Biotechnology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lijuan Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shanchun Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aihong Peng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhu Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yongrui He
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiuping Zou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Citrus Research InstituteSouthwest UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Citrus Research InstituteChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesChongqingPeople’s Republic of China

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