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CRISPR/Cas9‐mediated disruption of the immediate early‐0 and 2 as a therapeutic approach to Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus in transgenic silkworm

Dong, Z., Hu, Z., Qin, Q., Dong, F., Huang, L., Long, J., Chen, P., Lu, C., Pan, M.
Insect molecular biology 2019 v.28 no.1 pp. 112-122
Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus, DNA replication, breeds, gene editing, gene expression, gene therapy, genes, infectious diseases, silkworms, survival rate, transactivators, transgenic insects
The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a powerful tool for the treatment of infectious diseases. In our previous study, we knocked out the Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV) key genes and BmNPV‐dependent host factor to generate transgenic antiviral strains. To further expand the range of target genes for BmNPV and more effectively prevent and control pathogenic infections, we performed gene editing and antiviral analysis by constructing a target‐directed baculovirus early transcriptional activator immediate early‐0 (ie‐0) and 2 (ie‐2) transgenic silkworm line. We hybridized it with Cas9 transgenic line to produce a double‐positive transgenic Cas9(+)/sgIE0‐sgIE2(+) line that could activate the CRISPR gene editing system. We first demonstrated that the system is capable of efficiently editing target genes and resulting in fragment deletions in the BmNPV genome. Survival rate of the transgenic Cas9(+)/sgIE0‐sgIE2(+) line reached 65% after inoculation with 1 × 10⁶ occlusion bodies/larva. Molecular analysis showed that BmNPV DNA replication and viral gene expression level in the transgenic Cas9(+)/sgIE0‐sgIE2(+) line were significantly inhibited compared with the control Cas9(−)/sgIE0‐sgIE2(−) line. These results indicated that IE‐0 and IE‐2, as baculovirus early transcriptional activators, can be used as target sites for gene therapy and that multigene editing could expand the range of target sites for research to create silkworm resistance breeds.