CRISPR, A Potential Powerful Weapon to Fight Potato Spindle Tuber Viroid

CRISPR/Cas9 is the third-generation technology for genome editing. CRISPR/Cas systems were found in bacteria as the immunity system to cope with the invading DNA viruses by cleaving them in a sequence dependent manner at first. Now, CRISPR/Cas9 was used to edit plant genome by instruction of double-strand DNA breaks in a sequence specific manner. This technology was applied to many plant species, such as Arabidopsis, tobacco, rice, citrus etc. [1]. It is very exciting to find that CPRSPR technology can be used for editing RNA [2,3]. At first, the class 2 type IV RNA-guide RNA-targeting CRISPRCas effector Cas13a was showed that it could be used to knockdown or track RNA in mammalian and plant cells. The advantage of CRISPR-Cas13a over RNAi is better specificity [2]. CRISPR-Cas13b improved the knockdown efficiency greatly over CRISPR-Cas13a. Furthermore, a system of RNA editing (REPAIR) was developed based on catalytically-inactive Cas13 in mammalian cells [3]. Because CRISPR-Cas13 can knockdown RNA in plant cell, so it is possible that it can be used to control RNA pathogen in plant which is resistant to RNAi, such as potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd).

Author(s): Dianqiu LV and Ying Xiaobao

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