Vaccinium corymbosum

Development and characterization of genome-edited plant cell culture lines for production of selected high-value compounds


The aim of this project is to use CRISPR/Cas to edit blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) genome for specific genes to redirect flux of precursors towards specific secondary metabolites of interest, such as anthocyanins, resveratrol and lutein.

Project summary:

Plants are valuable source of secondary metabolites useful in medicine, nutrition and as industrial components. Harvesting high value compounds from wild or cultivated plants comes with a high environmental impact, depends on seasonal availability/variability and, in the case of endangered species, may not be feasible. Of the different plant culture techniques, only the plant cell culture is amenable to high volume and throughput required for industry. However, cell cultures for many plant species are still not readily available, while production of valuable compounds is often complicated by low yields and contaminating compounds.

Here we propose to use CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to develop blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) tissue cultures for production of high-value biopharmaceuticals. Genome-scale metabolic flux analysis will be used to identify key targets in known biochemical pathways that upon their inactivation will result in altered composition of target metabolites. Targeted mutagenesis will be used to create edited tissue cultures with selectively inactivated target genes. High-throughput metabolomics (LC-MS) will be used to characterize the developed individual tissue cultures with respect to target compounds and critical precursors.


More information about the project can be found on the project website (in latvian).

Grant No. 722361

Source of funding: Latvian Council of Science, lzp-2018/1-0101

Project period: 01.09.2018 – 31.08.2021 (24 months)

Total budget: 300 000 EUR

Project leader: Professor, Nils Rostoks,

Project coordinator from group: Senior researcher, Agris


Ramata-Stunda, A., Valkovska, V., Borodušķis, M., Livkiša, D., Kaktiņa, E., Silamiķele, B., Borodušķe, A., Pentjušs, A., & Rostoks, N. (2020). Development of metabolic engineering approaches to regulate the content of total phenolics, antiradical activity and organic acids in callus cultures of the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). Agronomy Research, 18(3), 1860–1872.