Potential of smallRNA-target interactions in plant breeding und generation of a recessive resistance against the beet cyst nematode (Heterodera schachtii) in sugar beet as an example


Team: Maximilian Teutsch, Wanzhi Ye, Jan Menkhaus
Grant No.: 27/201 6-2017-CHN, supported by BLE, 2017-2018
Partner: Prof. Dr. Longjiang Fan, Zhejiang University, China

The scientific hypothesis underlying the project follows that modification of sRNA-targeting sites of genes required for a compatible plant-nematode interaction impedes the sRNA-target interaction, consequently leading to an incompatible interaction (recessive resistance) in plants towards BCN infection. The goal of this project is to develop a novel resistance breeding strategy by implementation of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tools to interfere sRNA-target interactions, which are functionally required as “susceptibility/compatibility factors” in a plant-pathogen interaction. Potential target genes include those regulated by plant-derived microRNAs and directly by BCN smallRNAs. Following activities are planned:

  • Identification and selection of appropriate candidate target genes, miRNAs and miRNA-Target-Interactions to be modified


  • Development of flexible CRISPR/Cas9-cassette systems for sugar beet genome editing with the focus on generation of silent mutations


  • Characterisation and optimisation of gene constructs in the sugar beet hairy roots system and in model host plant Arabidopsis thaliana (BCN) including investigation of the underlying molecular mechanisms. Generation and characterisation of transgenic sugar beet plants in cooperation with the sugar beet breeder