Targeted mutagenesis and functional analysis of CWC25 Splicing Factor in Rice via CRISPR/Cas9

  • Ahad M. Kababji

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Pre-mRNA splicing is the most critical process in gene expression regulation across eukaryotic species. This reaction is carried out by the spliceosome, a large, dynamic, and well-organized ribonucleoprotein complex. The spliceosome is composed of five major small nuclear RNAs and an excessive number of associated protein factors. Many protein splicing factors bind and release during splicing to assist the assembly and the modulation of many RNA structures and proteins within the spliceosome. CWC25 is a splicing protein factor that functions in modulating the conformational structure of the spliceosome at the first transesterification reaction. CWC25 binds with its N-terminus to the major groove of the catalytic spliceosome triggering the spliceosome activity. Here, we employed CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering system for targeted mutagenesis to generate CWC25 functional knock-out mutants to understand its molecular function, contribution to splicing regulation and implication in fine-tuning responses to abiotic stress in rice. Our genotyping analysis of the OsCWC25 locus revealed the presence of two mono-allelic and 18 bi-allelic mutant lines. Phenotypic analysis of these mutants, including germination and root inhibition assays, showed that the cwc25 mutants are oversensitive to abiotic stresses such as ABA and salinity. Our data demonstrate that CWC25 plays an important role in regulating plant responses to abiotic stresses.
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMagdy Mahfouz (Supervisor)


  • Splicing
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Splicing Factors
  • CWC25
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Spliceosome

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