CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Knockout of Physcomitrella patens Phytochromes
Here we describe procedures for gene disruption and excision in Physcomitrella using CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat/CRISPR-associated 9) methods, exemplarily targeting phytochrome (PHY) gene loci. Thereby double-strand breaks (DSBs) are induced using a single guide RNA (sgRNA) with the Cas9 nuclease, leading to insertions or deletions (indels) due to incorrect repair by the nonhomologous-end joining (NHEJ) mechanism. We also include protocols for excision of smaller genomic fragments or whole genes either with or without homologous recombination-assisted repair. The protocol can be adapted to target several loci simultaneously, thereby allowing the physiological analysis of phenotypes that would be masked by functional redundancy. In our particular case, multiple PHY gene knockouts would likely be valuable in understanding phytochrome functions in mosses and, perhaps, higher plants too. Target sites for site-directed induction of DSBs are predicted with the CRISPOR online-tool and are inserted in silico into sequence matrices for the design of sgRNA expression cassettes. The resulting DNAs are cloned into Gateway DONOR vectors and the respective expression plasmids used for moss cotransformation with a Cas9 expression plasmid and a selectable marker (either on a separate plasmid or on one of the other plasmids). After the selection process, genomic DNA is extracted and transformants are analyzed by PCR fingerprinting.
KeywordsPhyscomitrella patens Phytochrome Gene knockout CRISPR/Cas9 Homologous recombination Nonhomologous end joining
This work was supported by DFG grant Hu702/5 to JH and by French ANR grant ANR11-BTBR-0001-GENIUS to NF. The IJPB benefits from the support of the LabEx Saclay Plant Sciences-SPS (ANR-10-LABX-0040-SPS). We thank Pierre François Perroud for his expertise and advice in the context of moss transformation.
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