7 July 2022

Coexpression of MEIOTIC-TOPOISOMERASE VIB-dCas9 with guide RNAs specific to a recombination hotspot is insufficient to increase crossover frequency in Arabidopsis

Nataliya E Yelina, Daniel Holland, Sabrina Gonzalez-Jorge, Dominique Hirsz, Ziyi Yang, Ian R Henderson - G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 2022


During meiosis, homologous chromosomes pair and recombine, which can result in reciprocal crossovers that increase genetic diversity. Crossovers are unevenly distributed along eukaryote chromosomes and show repression in heterochromatin and the centromeres. Within the chromosome arms, crossovers are often concentrated in hotspots, which are typically in the kilobase range. The uneven distribution of crossovers along chromosomes, together with their low number per meiosis, creates a limitation during crop breeding, where recombination can be beneficial. Therefore, targeting crossovers to specific genome locations has the potential to accelerate crop improvement. In plants, meiotic crossovers are initiated by DNA double-strand breaks that are catalyzed by SPO11 complexes, which consist of 2 catalytic (SPO11-1 and SPO11-2) and 2 noncatalytic subunits (MTOPVIB). We used the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to coexpress an MTOPVIB-dCas9 fusion protein with guide RNAs specific to the 3a crossover hotspot. We observed that this was insufficient to significantly change meiotic crossover frequency or pattern within 3a. We discuss the implications of our findings for targeting meiotic recombination within plant genomes.

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