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Establishing a CRISPR–Cas-like immune system conferring DNA virus resistance in plants

Nature Plants volume 1, Article number: 15144 (2015) | Download Citation


CRISPR–Cas (clustered, regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats–CRISPR-associated proteins) is an adaptive immune system in many archaea and bacteria that cleaves foreign DNA on the basis of sequence complementarity. Here, using the geminivirus, beet severe curly top virus (BSCTV), transient assays performed in Nicotiana benthamiana demonstrate that the sgRNA–Cas9 constructs inhibit virus accumulation and introduce mutations at the target sequences. Further, transgenic Arabidopsis and N. benthamiana plants overexpressing sgRNA–Cas9 are highly resistant to virus infection.

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The authors thank Q. Xie (Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, CAS) for providing pCambia-BSCTV vector. Q. Chen (China Agricultural University) for providing pHSN401 vector and Q. Shen (Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, CAS) for providing N. benthamiana plants. This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31420103912 and 31271795) and the Ministry of Agriculture of China (2014ZX0801003B).

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    • Xiang Ji
    •  & Huawei Zhang

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome Engineering, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

    • Xiang Ji
    • , Huawei Zhang
    • , Yi Zhang
    • , Yanpeng Wang
    •  & Caixia Gao
  2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

    • Xiang Ji
    • , Yi Zhang
    •  & Yanpeng Wang


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H.W.Z., C.X.G. and X.J. designed the experiments; X.J. performed most of the experiments; H.W.Z. and Y.Z. performed the virus-cutting experiments and mutation analysis; all authors analysed the data; C.X.G., X.J. and H.W.Z. wrote the manuscript. X.J. and Y.P.W. generated the figures. All authors approved the manuscript.

Competing interests

X.J., H.W.Z. and C.X.G. filed a patent application in China (priority filing with serial number 201510107492.9).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Caixia Gao.

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