Expansion of genome editing technology of microalgae Euglena

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February 14, 2024

Enabling more flexible and precise genome modification

A joint research group from RIKEN CSRS, RIKEN Baton Zone Program, and Euglena Co., Ltd. has established a high-efficiency genome editing technology using the Cas12a RNP complex in Euglena gracilis (Euglena, hereinafter), an industrially utilized species of microalgae Euglena. Additionally, they have succeeded in precise base-editing at the single base level.

Building on the previously established genome editing technology with the Cas9 RNP complex, the group has established a high-efficiency genome editing technology using the Cas12a (Cpf1) RNP complex, which has a different target sequence recognition rule and cleavage style. They demonstrated that using synthesized single-stranded DNA enables precise base-editing at the single-base level. The results are expected to aid in the molecular breeding of Euglena, enabling gene function analysis through genome editing targeting AT-rich regions, which was difficult with Cas9-based methods, and precise engineering of proteins with editing at the single base level.

In this study, RIKEN formed a collaboration team with Euglena Co., Ltd. through the integrated collaborative research system with industry. This allowed us to obtain reliable data in the measurement of paramylon (polysaccharide specifically accumulated by euglena), thereby facilitating our research results. The collaborative team is expected to use the outcomes of this study for developing  Euglena strains beneficial for industrial application.

Original article
Microbial Biotechnology doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.14393
T. Nomura, J.-S. Kim, M. Ishikawa, K. Suzuki, K. Mochida,
"High-efficiency genome editing by Cas12a ribonucleoprotein complex in Euglena gracilis".
Keiichi Mochida
Team Leader
Bioproductivity Informatics Research Team