Nakamura, Okamura, Iwai (2019) Plasmid-based and -free methods using CRISPR/Cas9 system for replacement of targeted genes in Colletotrichum sansevieriae Scientific reports 9(1) 18947


The CRISPR-Cas9 system has a potential for wide application in organisms that particularly present low homologous integration rates. In this study, we developed three different methods using this system to replace a gene through homology-directed repair in the plant pathogenic fungus Colletotrichum sansevieriae, which has a low recombination frequency. The gene encoding scytalone dehydratase was used as the target so that mutants can be readily distinguished owning to a lack of melanin biosynthesis. First, we performed a plasmid-based method using plasmids containing a Cas9 expression cassette and/or a single-guide RNA (sgRNA) under the control of the endogenous U6 snRNA promoter, and 67 out of 69 (97.1%) transformants exhibited a melanin-deficient phenotype with high efficiency. Second, we performed a transformation using a Cas9 protein/sgRNA complex and obtained 23 out of 28 (82.1%) transformants. Lastly, we developed a hybrid system combining a Cas9 protein and donor DNA-sgRNA expression plasmid, which yielded 75 out of 84 (89.2%) transformants. This system was also applicable to four other genes at different loci of the fungus. This is the first study to establish a CRISPR/Cas9 gene replacement system in Colletotrichum spp. and it presents a potential application for a broad range of use in other species of the genus.