Scientific reports

CRISPR/Cas9-mediated efficient genome editing via blastospore-based transformation in entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana.

PMID 28368054


Beauveria bassiana is an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical insecticides against various agricultural insect pests and vectors of human diseases. However, its application has been limited due to slow kill and sensitivity to abiotic stresses. Understanding of the molecular pathogenesis and physiological characteristics would facilitate improvement of the fungal performance. Loss-of-function mutagenesis is the most powerful tool to characterize gene functions, but it is hampered by the low rate of homologous recombination and the limited availability of selectable markers. Here, by combining the use of uridine auxotrophy as recipient and donor DNAs harboring auxotrophic complementation gene ura5 as a selectable marker with the blastospore-based transformation system, we established a highly efficient, low false-positive background and cost-effective CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing system in B. bassiana. This system has been demonstrated as a simple and powerful tool for targeted gene knock-out and/or knock-in in B. bassiana in a single gene disruption. We further demonstrated that our system allows simultaneous disruption of multiple genes via homology-directed repair in a single transformation. This technology will allow us to study functionally redundant genes and holds significant potential to greatly accelerate functional genomics studies of B. bassiana.