We have isolated several Osiaa23 rice mutants with different knockout genotypes, resulting in different phenotypes, which suggested that different genetic backgrounds or mutation types influence gene function. The Auxin/Indole-3-Acetic Acid (Aux/IAA) gene family performs critical roles in auxin signal transduction in plants. In rice, the gene OsIAA23 (Os06t0597000) is known to affect development of roots and shoots, but previous knockouts in OsIAA23 have been sterile and difficult for research continuously. Here, we isolate new Osiaa23 mutants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system in japonica (Wuyunjing24) and indica (Kasalath) rice, with extensive genome re-sequencing to confirm the absence of off-target effects. In Kasalath, mutants with a 13-amino acid deletion showed profoundly greater dwarfing, lateral root developmental disorder, and fertility deficiency, relative to mutants with a single amino acid deletion, demonstrating that those 13 amino acids in Kasalath are essential to gene function. In Wuyunjing24, we predicted that mutants with a single base-pair frameshift insertion would experience premature termination and strong phenotypic defects, but instead these lines exhibited negligible phenotypic difference and normal fertility. Through RNA-seq, we show here that new mosaic transcripts of OsIAA23 were produced de novo, which circumvented the premature termination and thereby preserved the wild-type phenotype. This finding is a notable demonstration in plants that mutants can mask loss of function CRISPR/Cas9 editing of the target gene through de novo changes in alternative splicing.
Journal: Plant molecular biology