To the Editor: Transcription activator–like (TAL) effectors of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) contribute to pathogen virulence by transcriptionally activating specific rice disease-susceptibility ( S ) genes . TAL effector nucleases (TALENs)—fusion proteins derived from the DNA recognition repeats of native or customized TAL effectors and the DNA cleavage domains of FokI —have been used to create site-specific gene modifications in plant cells , yeast , animals and even human pluripotent cells . Here, we exploit TALEN technology to edit a specific S gene in rice to thwart the virulence strategy of X. oryzae and thereby engineer heritable genome modifications for resistance to bacterial blight, a devastating disease in a crop that feeds half of the world's population. We targeted the rice bacterial blight susceptibility gene Os11N3 (also called OsSWEET14 ) for TALEN-based disruption. This rice gene encodes a member of the SWEET sucrose-efflux transporter family and is hijacked by X. oryzae pv. oryzae , using its endogenous TAL effectors AvrXa7 or PthXo3, to activate the gene and thus divert sugars from the plant cell so as to satisfy the pathogen's nutritional needs and enhance its persistence . The Os11N3 promoter contains an effector-binding element (EBE) for AvrXa7,
Nature Biotechnology – Springer Journals
Published: May 7, 2012
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