Genetic screens in human cells using the CRISPR-Cas9 system.
ABSTRACT: The bacterial clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 system for genome editing has greatly expanded the toolbox for mammalian genetics, enabling the rapid generation of isogenic cell lines and mice with modified alleles. Here, we describe a pooled, loss-of-function genetic screening approach suitable for both positive and negative selection that uses a genome-scale lentiviral single-guide RNA (sgRNA) library. sgRNA expression cassettes were stably integrated into the genome, which enabled a complex mutant pool to be tracked by massively parallel sequencing. We used a library containing 73,000 sgRNAs to generate knockout collections and performed screens in two human cell lines. A screen for resistance to the nucleotide analog 6-thioguanine identified all expected members of the DNA mismatch repair pathway, whereas another for the DNA topoisomerase II (TOP2A) poison etoposide identified TOP2A, as expected, and also cyclin-dependent kinase 6, CDK6. A negative selection screen for essential genes identified numerous gene sets corresponding to fundamental processes. Last, we show that sgRNA efficiency is associated with specific sequence motifs, enabling the prediction of more effective sgRNAs. Collectively, these results establish Cas9/sgRNA screens as a powerful tool for systematic genetic analysis in mammalian cells.
Project description:Several groups have used genome-wide libraries of lentiviruses encoding small guide RNAs (sgRNAs) for genetic screens. In most cases, sgRNA expression cassettes are integrated into cells by using lentiviruses, and target genes are statistically estimated by the readout of sgRNA sequences after targeted sequencing. We present a new virus-free method for human gene knockout screens using a genome-wide library of CRISPR/Cas9 sgRNAs based on plasmids and target gene identification via whole-genome sequencing (WGS) confirmation of authentic mutations rather than statistical estimation through targeted amplicon sequencing. We used 30,840 pairs of individually synthesized oligonucleotides to construct the genome-scale sgRNA library, collectively targeting 10,280 human genes (i.e. three sgRNAs per gene). These plasmid libraries were co-transfected with a Cas9-expression plasmid into human cells, which were then treated with cytotoxic drugs or viruses. Only cells lacking key factors essential for cytotoxic drug metabolism or viral infection were able to survive. Genomic DNA isolated from cells that survived these challenges was subjected to WGS to directly identify CRISPR/Cas9-mediated causal mutations essential for cell survival. With this approach, we were able to identify known and novel genes essential for viral infection in human cells. We propose that genome-wide sgRNA screens based on plasmids coupled with WGS are powerful tools for forward genetics studies and drug target discovery.
Project description:Motivation:Genome-wide clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas9 screen has been widely used to interrogate gene functions. However, the rules to design better libraries beg further refinement. Results:We found single guide RNA (sgRNA) outliers are characterized by higher G-nucleotide counts, especially in regions distal from the PAM motif and are associated with stronger off-target activities. Furthermore, using non-targeting sgRNAs as negative controls lead to strong bias, which can be mitigated by using sgRNAs targeting multiple 'safe harbor' regions. Custom-designed screens confirmed our findings and further revealed that 19?nt sgRNAs consistently gave the best signal-to-noise ratio. Collectively, our analysis motivated the design of a new genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen library and uncovered some intriguing properties of the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Availability and implementation:The MAGeCK workflow is available open source at https://bitbucket.org/liulab/mageck_nest under the MIT license. Supplementary information:Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Project description:The recently developed CRISPR screen technology, based on the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system, enables genome-wide interrogation of gene functions in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Although many computational algorithms and web servers have been developed to design single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) with high specificity and efficiency, algorithms specifically designed for conducting CRISPR screens are still lacking. Here we present CRISPR-FOCUS, a web-based platform to search and prioritize sgRNAs for CRISPR screen experiments. With official gene symbols or RefSeq IDs as the only mandatory input, CRISPR-FOCUS filters and prioritizes sgRNAs based on multiple criteria, including efficiency, specificity, sequence conservation, isoform structure, as well as genomic variations including Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and cancer somatic mutations. CRISPR-FOCUS also provides pre-defined positive and negative control sgRNAs, as well as other necessary sequences in the construct (e.g., U6 promoters to drive sgRNA transcription and RNA scaffolds of the CRISPR/Cas9). These features allow users to synthesize oligonucleotides directly based on the output of CRISPR-FOCUS. Overall, CRISPR-FOCUS provides a rational and high-throughput approach for sgRNA library design that enables users to efficiently conduct a focused screen experiment targeting up to thousands of genes. (CRISPR-FOCUS is freely available at http://cistrome.org/crispr-focus/).
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional gene regulators that play important roles in the control of cell fitness, differentiation, and development. The CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system is composed of the Cas9 nuclease in complex with a single guide RNA (sgRNA) and directs DNA cleavage at a predetermined site. Several CRISPR-Cas9 libraries have been constructed for genome-scale knockout screens of protein function; however, few libraries have included miRNA genes. Here we constructed a miRNA-focused CRISPR-Cas9 library that targets 1594 (85%) annotated human miRNA stem-loops. The sgRNAs in our LX-miR library are designed to have high on-target and low off-target activity, and each miRNA is targeted by four to five sgRNAs. We used this sgRNA library to screen for miRNAs that affect cell fitness of HeLa or NCI-N87 cells by monitoring the change in frequency of each sgRNA over time. By considering the expression in the tested cells and the dysregulation of the miRNAs in cancer specimens, we identified five HeLa pro-fitness and cervical cancer up-regulated miRNAs (miR-31-5p, miR-92b-3p, miR-146b-5p, miR-151a-3p, and miR-194-5p). Similarly, we identified six NCI-N87 pro-fitness and gastric cancer up-regulated miRNAs (miR-95-3p, miR-181a-5p, miR-188-5p, miR-196b-5p, miR-584-5p, and miR-1304-3p), as well as three anti-fitness and down-regulated miRNAs (let-7a-3p, miR-100-5p, and miR-149-5p). Some of those miRNAs are known to be oncogenic or tumor-suppressive, but others are novel. Taken together, the LX-miR library is useful for genome-wide unbiased screening to identify miRNAs important for cellular fitness and likely to be useful for other functional screens.
Project description:The CRISPR-Cas9 system has revolutionized genome engineering, allowing precise modification of DNA in various organisms. The most popular method for conducting CRISPR-based functional screens involves the use of pooled lentiviral libraries in selection screens coupled with next-generation sequencing. Screens employing genome-scale pooled small guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries are demanding, particularly when complex assays are used. Furthermore, pooled libraries are not suitable for microscopy-based high-content screens or for systematic interrogation of protein function. To overcome these limitations and exploit CRISPR-based technologies to comprehensively investigate epigenetic mechanisms, we have generated a focused sgRNA library targeting 450 epigenetic regulators with multiple sgRNAs in human cells. The lentiviral library is available both in an arrayed and pooled format and allows temporally-controlled induction of gene knock-out. Characterization of the library showed high editing activity of most sgRNAs and efficient knock-out at the protein level in polyclonal populations. The sgRNA library can be used for both selection and high-content screens, as well as for targeted investigation of selected proteins without requiring isolation of knock-out clones. Using a variety of functional assays we show that the library is suitable for both in vitro and in vivo applications, representing a unique resource to study epigenetic mechanisms in physiological and pathological conditions.
Project description:High-throughput genetic screens are powerful methods to interrogate gene function on a genome-wide scale and identify genes responsible to certain stresses. Here, we developed a piggyBac strategy to deliver pooled sgRNA libraries stably into cell lines. We used this strategy to conduct a screen based on genome-wide clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat technology (CRISPR)-Cas9 in Bombyx mori cells. We first constructed a single guide RNA (sgRNA) library containing 94,000 sgRNAs, which targeted 16,571 protein-coding genes. We then generated knockout collections in BmE cells using the piggyBac transposon. We identified 1006 genes that are essential for cell viability under normal growth conditions. Of the identified genes, 82.4% (829 genes) were homologous to essential genes in seven animal species. We also identified 838 genes whose loss facilitated cell growth. Next, we performed context-specific positive screens for resistance to biotic or nonbiotic stresses using temperature and baculovirus separately, which identified several key genes and pathways from each screen. Collectively, our results provide a novel and versatile platform for functional annotations of B. mori genomes and deciphering key genes responsible for various conditions. This study also shows the effectiveness, practicality, and convenience of genome-wide CRISPR screens in nonmodel organisms.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9-based genetic screens are a powerful new tool in biology. By simply altering the sequence of the single-guide RNA (sgRNA), one can reprogram Cas9 to target different sites in the genome with relative ease, but the on-target activity and off-target effects of individual sgRNAs can vary widely. Here, we use recently devised sgRNA design rules to create human and mouse genome-wide libraries, perform positive and negative selection screens and observe that the use of these rules produced improved results. Additionally, we profile the off-target activity of thousands of sgRNAs and develop a metric to predict off-target sites. We incorporate these findings from large-scale, empirical data to improve our computational design rules and create optimized sgRNA libraries that maximize on-target activity and minimize off-target effects to enable more effective and efficient genetic screens and genome engineering.
Project description:Genetic screens using CRISPR/Cas9 are a powerful method for the functional analysis of genomes.Here we describe CRISPR library designer (CLD), an integrated bioinformatics application for the design of custom single guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries for all organisms with annotated genomes. CLD is suitable for the design of libraries using modified CRISPR enzymes and targeting non-coding regions. To demonstrate its utility, we perform a pooled screen for modulators of the TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway using a custom library of 12,471 sgRNAs.CLD predicts a high fraction of functional sgRNAs and is publicly available at https://github.com/boutroslab/cld.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9 technology has accelerated biological research becoming routine for many laboratories. It is rapidly replacing conventional gene editing techniques and has high utility for both genome-wide and gene-focussed applications. Here we present the first individually cloned CRISPR-Cas9 genome wide arrayed sgRNA libraries covering 17,166 human and 20,430 mouse genes at a complexity of 34,332 sgRNAs for human and 40,860 sgRNAs for the mouse genome. For flexibility in generating stable cell lines the sgRNAs have been cloned in a lentivirus backbone containing PiggyBac transposase recognition elements together with fluorescent and drug selection markers. Over 95% of tested sgRNA induced specific DNA cleavage as measured by CEL-1 assays. Furthermore, sgRNA targeting GPI anchor protein pathway genes induced loss of function mutations in human and mouse cell lines measured by FLAER labelling. These arrayed libraries offer the prospect for performing screens on individual genes, combinations as well as larger gene sets. They also facilitate rapid deconvolution of signals from genome-wide screens. This set of vectors provide an organized comprehensive gene editing toolbox of considerable scientific value.
Project description:Genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 dropout screens can identify genes whose knockout affects cell viability. Recent CRISPR screens detected thousands of essential genes required for cellular survival and key cellular processes; however discovering novel lineage-specific genetic dependencies from the many hits still remains a challenge.To assess whether CRISPR-Cas9 dropout screens can help identify cancer dependencies, we screened two human cancer cell lines carrying known and distinct oncogenic mutations using a genome-wide sgRNA library. We found that the gRNA targeting the driver mutation EGFR was one of the highest-ranking candidates in the EGFR-mutant HCC-827 lung adenocarcinoma cell line. Likewise, sgRNAs for NRAS and MAP2K1 (MEK1), a downstream kinase of mutant NRAS, were identified among the top hits in the NRAS-mutant neuroblastoma cell line CHP-212. Depletion of these genes targeted by the sgRNAs strongly correlated with the sensitivity to specific kinase inhibitors of the EGFR or RAS pathway in cell viability assays. In addition, we describe other dependencies such as TBK1 in HCC-827 cells and TRIB2 in CHP-212 cells which merit further investigation.We show that genome-wide CRISPR dropout screens are suitable for the identification of oncogenic drivers and other essential genes.