Numerous strains of Aspergillus oryzae are industrially used for Japanese traditional fermentation and for the production of enzymes and heterologous proteins. In A. oryzae, deletion of the ku70 or ligD genes involved in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) has allowed high gene targeting efficiency. However, this strategy has been mainly applied under the genetic background of the A. oryzae wild strain RIB40, and it would be laborious to delete the NHEJ genes in many A. oryzae industrial strains, probably due to their low gene targeting efficiency. In the present study, we generated ligD mutants from the A. oryzae industrial strains by employing the CRISPR/Cas9 system, which we previously developed as a genome editing method. Uridine/uracil auxotrophic strains were generated by deletion of the pyrG gene, which was subsequently used as a selective marker. We examined the gene targeting efficiency with the ecdR gene, of which deletion was reported to induce sclerotia formation under the genetic background of the strain RIB40. As expected, the deletion efficiencies were high, around 60~80%, in the ligD mutants of industrial strains. Intriguingly, the effects of the ecdR deletion on sclerotia formation varied depending on the strains, and we found sclerotia-like structures under the background of the industrial strains, which have never been reported to form sclerotia. The present study demonstrates that introducing ligD mutation by genome editing is an effective method allowing high gene targeting efficiency in A. oryzae industrial strains.
2017, Applied Microbiology, Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Research Foundation