Nonhomologous end joining-mediated gene replacement in plant cells

Dan Michael Weinthal, Roslyn Ann Taylor, Tzvi Tzfira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Stimulation of the homologous recombination DNA-repair pathway via the induction of genomic double-strand breaks (DSBs) by zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) has been deployed for gene replacement in plant cells. Nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ)- mediated repair of DSBs, on the other hand, has been utilized for the induction of site-specific mutagenesis in plants. Since NHEJ is the dominant DSB repair pathway and can also lead to the capture of foreign DNA molecules, we suggest that it can also be deployed for gene replacement. An acceptor DNA molecule in which a green fluorescent protein (GFP) coding sequence (gfp) was flanked by ZFN recognition sequences was used to produce transgenic target plants. A donor DNA molecule in which a promoterless hygromycin B phosphotransferase-encoding gene (hpt) was flanked by ZFN recognition sequences was constructed. The donor DNA molecule and ZFN expression cassette were delivered into target plants. ZFN-mediated sitespecific mutagenesis and complete removal of the GFP coding sequence resulted in the recovery of hygromycin-resistant plants that no longer expressed GFP and in which the hpt gene was unlinked to the acceptor DNA. More importantly, ZFNmediated digestion of both donor and acceptor DNA molecules resulted in NHEJ-mediated replacement of the gfp with hpt and recovery of hygromycin-resistant plants that no longer expressed GFP and in which the hpt gene was physically linked to the acceptor DNA. Sequence and phenotypical analyses, and transmission of the replacement events to the next generation, confirmed the stability of the NHEJ-induced gene exchange, suggesting its use as a novel method for transgene replacement and gene stacking in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-400
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Physiology
Volume162
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2013

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