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Plant Cell Rep. 2019 Mar;38(3):417-433. doi: 10.1007/s00299-019-02388-z. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

CRISPR/Cas9 mutations in the rice Waxy/GBSSI gene induce allele-specific and zygosity-dependent feedback effects on endosperm starch biosynthesis.

Author information

1
Department of Plant Production and Forestry Science, School of Agrifood and Forestry Science and Engineering (ETSEA), University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center, Av. Alcalde Rovira Roure 191, 25198, Lleida, Spain.
2
Department of Chemistry, University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center, Lleida, Spain.
3
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Plant Biology, Experimental Station of the Zaidín, Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC), Granada, Spain.
4
Department of Plant Production and Forestry Science, School of Agrifood and Forestry Science and Engineering (ETSEA), University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center, Av. Alcalde Rovira Roure 191, 25198, Lleida, Spain. christou@pvcf.udl.cat.
5
Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain. christou@pvcf.udl.cat.

Abstract

Induced mutations in the waxy locus in rice endosperm did not abolish GBSS activity completely. Compensatory mechanisms in endosperm and leaves caused a major reprogramming of the starch biosynthetic machinery. The mutation of genes in the starch biosynthesis pathway has a profound effect on starch quality and quantity and is an important target for plant breeders. Mutations in endosperm starch biosynthetic genes may impact starch metabolism in vegetative tissues such as leaves in unexpected ways due to the complex feedback mechanisms regulating the pathway. Surprisingly this aspect of global starch metabolism has received little attention. We used CRISPR/Cas9 to introduce mutations affecting the Waxy (Wx) locus encoding granule-bound starch synthase I (GBSSI) in rice endosperm. Our specific objective was to develop a mechanistic understanding of how the endogenous starch biosynthetic machinery might be affected at the transcriptional level following the targeted knock out of GBSSI in the endosperm. We found that the mutations reduced but did not abolish GBSS activity in seeds due to partial compensation caused by the upregulation of GBSSII. The GBSS activity in the mutants was 61-71% of wild-type levels, similarly to two irradiation mutants, but the amylose content declined to 8-12% in heterozygous seeds and to as low as 5% in homozygous seeds, accompanied by abnormal cellular organization in the aleurone layer and amorphous starch grain structures. Expression of many other starch biosynthetic genes was modulated in seeds and leaves. This modulation of gene expression resulted in changes in AGPase and sucrose synthase activity that explained the corresponding levels of starch and soluble sugars.

KEYWORDS:

AGPase; Genome editing; Granule-bound starch synthase; Starch quality

PMID:
30715580
DOI:
10.1007/s00299-019-02388-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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