Research on a few model plant-pathogen systems has benefitted from years of tool and resource development. This is not the case for the vast majority of economically and nutritionally important plants, creating a crop improvement bottleneck. Cassava bacterial blight (CBB), caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. manihotis (Xam), is an important disease in all regions where cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is grown. Here, we describe the development of cassava that can be used to visualize one of the initial steps of CBB infection in vivo. Using CRISPR-mediated homology-directed repair (HDR), we generated plants containing scarless insertion of GFP at the 3' end of CBB susceptibility (S) gene MeSWEET10a. Activation of MeSWEET10a-GFP by the transcription activator-like (TAL) effector TAL20 was subsequently visualized at transcriptional and translational levels. To our knowledge, this is the first such demonstration of HDR via gene editing in cassava.
Keywords: Xanthomonas; bacterial pathogens; cassava; genome editing; pathogenesis.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Genetics Society of America.