Development of Highly Efficient Resistance to Beet Curly Top Iran Virus (Becurtovirus) in Sugar Beet (B. vulgaris) via CRISPR/Cas9 System

Creative Commons License

Yıldırım K., Kavas M., Küçük İ. S., Seçgin Z., Saraç Ç.

International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol.24, no.7, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ijms24076515
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: CRISPR, gRNA, Cas9, sugar beet, BCTIV, Becurtovirus
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: Yes


Beet Curly Top Iran Virus (BCTIV, Becurtovirus) is a dominant and widespread pathogen responsible for great damage and yield reduction in sugar beet production in the Mediterranean and Middle East. CRISPR-based gene editing is a versatile tool that has been successfully used in plants to improve resistance against many viral pathogens. In this study, the efficiency of gRNA/Cas9 constructs targeting the expressed genes of BCTIV was assessed in sugar beet leaves by their transient expression. Almost all positive control sugar beets revealed systemic infection and severe disease symptoms (90%), with a great biomass reduction (68%) after BCTIV agroinoculation. On the other hand, sugar beets co-agronioculated with BCTIV and gRNA/Cas9 indicated much lower systemic infection (10–55%), disease symptoms and biomass reduction (13–45%). Viral inactivation was also verified by RCA and qPCR assays for gRNA/Cas9 treated sugar beets. PCR-RE digestion and sequencing assays confirmed the gRNA/Cas9-mediated INDEL mutations at the target sites of the BCTIV genome and represented high efficiencies (53–88%), especially for those targeting BCTIV’s movement gene and its overlapping region between capsid and ssDNA regulator genes. A multiplex CRISPR approach was also tested. The most effective four gRNAs targeting all the genes of BCTIV were cloned into a Cas9-containing vector and agroinoculated into virus-infected sugar beet leaves. The results of this multiplex CRISPR system revealed almost complete viral resistance with inhibition of systemic infection and mutant escape. This is the first report of CRSIPR-mediated broad-spectrum resistance against Becurtovirus in sugar beet.