J Biotechnol. 2022 Apr 7:S0168-1656(22)00075-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2022.03.017. Online ahead of print.
Species of the genus Aureobasidium are ubiquitous, polyextremotolerant, “yeast-like” ascomycetes used for the industrial production of pullulan and other products and as biocontrol agents in agriculture. Their application potential and wide-spread occurrence make Aureobasidium spp. interesting study objects. The availability of a fast and efficient genome editing method is an obvious advantage for future basic and applied research on Aureobasidium. In this study, we describe the development of a CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing method using ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) in A. pullulans and A. melanogenum. We demonstrate that this method can be used for single and multiplex genome editing using only RNPs by targeting URA3 (encoding for orotidine-5′-phosphate decarboxylase), ADE2 (encoding for phosphoribosylaminoimidazole carboxylase) and ARG4 (encoding for argininosuccinate lyase). We demonstrate the applicability of Trichoderma reesei pyr4 and Aspergillus fumigatus pyrG to complement the URA3 deficiency. Further, we show that using RNPs improves the homologous recombination rate and 20bp long homologous flanks are sufficient. Therefore, the repair cassettes can be constructed by a single PCR, abolishing the need for laborious and time-consuming cloning, which is necessary for previously described methods for CRISPR-mediated genome editing in these fungi. The here presented method allows fast and efficient genome editing for gene deletions, modifications, and insertions in Auresobasidium with a minimized risk of off-target effects.