Editing of the starch synthase IIa gene led to transcriptomic and metabolomic changes and high amylose starch in barley.

In this study, a range of barley allelic mutants lost ADPG binding structure of starch synthase IIa (SSIIa) were created through targeted mutagenesis of SSIIa by RNA-guided Cas9. The transcriptomic and qRT-PCR results showed the increased mRNA expression of HvGBSSI and the decreased HvSSIIa and HvSBEI levels in ssIIa mutant grains, which were consistent with the expressions of GBSSI, SSS and SBE enzymatic activities, respectively. However, the increased expressions of HvSSI cannot effectively compensate for the loss of HvSSIIa. The metabolic pathway analysis showed that the mutation of SSIIa led to increased ADP-glucose synthesis in barley grains. The ssIIa mutant grains had two and six times amylose, and RS contents in control grains, respectively, and significantly changed starch structure and functions compared to the controls. No metabolite changes could compensate for the decrease of starch biosynthesis in the ssIIa null mutant.