The unicellular alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae has a simple cellular structure; each cell has one nucleus, one mitochondrion, one chloroplast and one peroxisome. This simplicity offers unique advantages for investigating organellar proliferation and the cell cycle. Here, we describe CZON-cutter, an engineered clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated nuclease 9 (Cas9) system for simultaneous genome editing and organellar visualization. We engineered a C. merolae strain expressing a nuclear-localized Cas9–Venus nuclease for targeted editing of any locus defined by a single-guide RNA (sgRNA). We then successfully edited the algal genome and visualized the mitochondrion and peroxisome in transformants using fluorescent protein reporters with different excitation wavelengths. Fluorescent protein labeling of organelles in living transformants allows us to validate phenotypes associated with organellar proliferation and the cell cycle, even when the edited gene is essential. Combined with the exceptional biological features of C. merolae, CZON-cutter will be instrumental for investigating cellular and organellar division in a high-throughput manner.

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