Broad-spectrum resistance to bacterial blight in rice using genome editing
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Bacterial blight of rice is an important disease in Asia and Africa. The pathogen, Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), secretes one or more of six known transcription-activator-like effectors (TALes) that bind specific promoter sequences and induce, at minimum, one of the three host sucrose transporter genes SWEET11, SWEET13 and SWEET14, the expression of which is required for disease susceptibility. We used CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing to introduce mutations in all three SWEET gene promoters. Editing was further informed by sequence analyses of TALe genes in 63 Xoo strains, which revealed multiple TALe variants for SWEET13 alleles. Mutations were also created in SWEET14, which is also targeted by two TALes from an African Xoo lineage. A total of five promoter mutations were simultaneously introduced into the rice line Kitaake and the elite mega varieties IR64 and Ciherang-Sub1. Paddy trials showed that genome-edited SWEET promoters endow rice lines with robust, broad-spectrum resistance.
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