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CRISPR/Cas9-mediated endogenous gene tagging in Fusarium oxysporum

Wang, Qiang, Coleman, Jeffrey J.
Fungal genetics and biology 2019 v.126 pp. 17-24
DNA fragmentation, Fusarium oxysporum, conidia, fluorescence, fungal proteins, fungi, genes, hyphae, pathogens, plasma membrane, virulence
Fusarium oxysporum is an economically important pathogen that widely exists in the environment and is capable of causing serious problems in crop production and animal/human health. One important step for characterization of a fungal protein with an unknown function is to determine its subcellular localization within the cell. To facilitate the study of important functional regulators or key virulence factors, we developed a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated endogenous gene tagging (EGT) system based on two different strategies, homology-independent targeted integration (HITI) and homology-dependent recombination integration (HDRI). The HITI strategy was able to facilitate integration of a large DNA fragment, ∼8 kb in length, into the genome of F. oxysporum at the sgRNA cleavage site, and was used to insert a C-terminal 3×sGFP tag to the FoCHS5 gene and a N-terminal mCherry tag to the FoSSO2 gene. The HDRI strategy was used to tag the paralogous gene, FoSSO1, with a C-terminal mCherry marker. FoChs5-3×sGFP localized to conidia, some septa, and fungal tips. A majority of the FoSso1-mCherry was distributed in the conidia, septum, and hyphae that were distal from the fungal tips. While FoSso1-mCherry showed a very weak fluorescent signal at the fungal tips, mCherry-FoSso2 accumulated in the plasma membrane of conidia, germlings, fungal tips, hyphae, and phialides, suggesting FoSSO1 and FoSSO2 are regulated differently during fungal development. These results indicate this EGT system is efficient and can be another molecular tool to resolve the function(s) of proteins and infection strategies of F. oxysporum.