Efficient bi-allelic gene knockout and site-specific knock-in mediated by TALENs in pigs.
ABSTRACT: Pigs are ideal organ donors for xenotransplantation and an excellent model for studying human diseases, such as neurodegenerative disease. Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) are used widely for gene targeting in various model animals. Here, we developed a strategy using TALENs to target the GGTA1, Parkin and DJ-1 genes in the porcine genome using Large White porcine fibroblast cells without any foreign gene integration. In total, 5% (2/40), 2.5% (2/80), and 22% (11/50) of the obtained colonies of fibroblast cells were mutated for GGTA1, Parkin, and DJ-1, respectively. Among these mutant colonies, over 1/3 were bi-allelic knockouts (KO), and no off-target cleavage was detected. We also successfully used single-strand oligodeoxynucleotides to introduce a short sequence into the DJ-1 locus. Mixed DJ-1 mutant colonies were used as donor cells for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), and three female piglets were obtained (two were bi-allelically mutated, and one was mono-allelically mutated). Western blot analysis showed that the expression of the DJ-1 protein was disrupted in KO piglets. These results imply that a combination of TALENs technology with SCNT can efficiently generate bi-allelic KO pigs without the integration of exogenous DNA. These DJ-1 KO pigs will provide valuable information for studying Parkinson's disease.
Project description:Recent advancements in gene editing techniques have increased in number and utility. These techniques are an attractive alternative to conventional gene targeting methods via homologous recombination due to the ease of use and the high efficiency of gene editing. We have previously produced cytidine monophosphate-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase (CMAH) knockout (KO) pigs in a Minnesota miniature pig genetic background. These pigs were generated using zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) in combination with donor DNA containing a total homology length of 1600 bp (800-bp homology on each arm). Our next aim was to introduce the targeted disruption of alpha-1,3-galactosyltransferase (GGTA1) in the CMAH KO genetic background and evaluate the effect of donor DNA homology length on meganuclease-mediated gene targeting.Zinc-finger nucleases from a previous CMAH KO experiment were used as a proof of concept to identify a correlation between the length of donor DNA homology and targeting efficiency. Based on those results, experiments were designed to use transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) to generate bi-allelically modified GGTA1 cells using donor DNAs carrying various lengths of homology. Donor DNA was designed to symmetrically flank the predicted cleavage sites in CMAH and GGTA1 for both ZFN and TALEN cleavage sites, respectively. For both genes, the length of total homology ranged from 60 to 1799 bp. Sialyltransferase gene expression profiles were evaluated in CMAH and GGTA1 double KO pig cells and were compared to wild-type and CMAH KO cells.Introduction of donor DNA with ZFNs demonstrated that small amounts of homology (60 bp) could facilitate homology-directed repair during ZFN-mediated targeting of CMAH; however, donor DNA with longer amounts of homology resulted in a higher frequency of homology-directed repair. For the GGTA1 KO experiments that used TALENs and donor DNA, donor DNA alone did not result in detectable bi-allelic conversion of GGTA1. As the length of donor DNA increased, the bi-allelic disruption of GGTA1 increased from 0.5% (TALENs alone, no donor DNA present) to a maximum of 3% (TALENs and donor DNA with total homology of 1799 bp). Inclusion of homologous donor DNA in TALEN-mediated gene targeting facilitated a higher incidence of bi-allelically modified cells. Using the generated cells, we were able to demonstrate the lack of GGTA1 expression and the decrease in gene expression sialyltransferase-related genes.The approach of using donor DNA in conjunction with a meganuclease can be used to increase the efficiency of gene targeting. The gene editing methods can be applied to other genes as well as other mammalian systems. Additionally, gene expression analysis further confirms that the CMAH/GGTA1 double KO pigs can be a valuable source for the study of pig-to-human xenotransplantation.
Project description:Inbred mini-pigs are ideal organ donors for future human xenotransplantations because of their clear genetic background, high homozygosity, and high inbreeding endurance. In this study, we chose fibroblast cells from a highly inbred pig line called Banna mini-pig inbred line (BMI) as donor nuclei for nuclear transfer, combining with transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and successfully generated ?-1,3-galactosyltransferase (GGTA1) gene biallelic knockout (KO) pigs. To validate the efficiency of TALEN vectors, in vitro-transcribed TALEN mRNAs were microinjected into one-cell stage parthenogenetically activated porcine embryos. The efficiency of indel mutations at the GGTA1-targeting loci was as high as 73.1% (19/26) among the parthenogenetic blastocysts. TALENs were co-transfected into porcine fetal fibroblasts of BMI with a plasmid containing neomycin gene. The targeting efficiency reached 89.5% (187/209) among the survived cell clones after a 10 d selection. More remarkably 27.8% (58/209) of colonies were biallelic KO. Five fibroblast cell lines with biallelic KO were chosen as nuclear donors for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Three miniature piglets with biallelic mutations of the GGTA1 gene were achieved. Gal epitopes on the surface of cells from all the three biallelic KO piglets were completely absent. The fibroblasts from the GGTA1 null piglets were more resistant to lysis by pooled complement-preserved normal human serum than those from wild-type pigs. These results indicate that a combination of TALENs technology with SCNT can generate biallelic KO pigs directly with high efficiency. The GGTA1 null piglets with inbred features created in this study can provide a new organ source for xenotransplantation research.
Project description:Gene-knockout pigs hold great promise as a solution to the shortage of organs from donor animals for xenotransplantation. Several groups have generated gene-knockout pigs via clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated 9 (Cas9) and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Herein, we adopted a simple and micromanipulator-free method, handmade cloning (HMC) instead of SCNT, to generate double gene-knockout pigs. First, we applied the CRISPR/Cas9 system to target ?1,3-galactosyltransferase (GGTA1) and cytidine monophosphate-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase (CMAH) genes simultaneously in porcine fetal fibroblast cells (PFFs), which were derived from wild-type Chinese domestic miniature Wuzhishan pigs. Cell colonies were obtained by screening and were identified by Surveyor assay and sequencing. Next, we chose the GGTA1/CMAH double-knockout (DKO) cells for HMC to produce piglets. As a result, we obtained 11 live bi-allelic GGTA1/CMAH DKO piglets with the identical phenotype. Compared to cells from GGTA1-knockout pigs, human antibody binding and antibody-mediated complement-dependent cytotoxicity were significantly reduced in cells from GGTA1/CMAH DKO pigs, which demonstrated that our pigs would exhibit reduced humoral rejection in xenotransplantation. These data suggested that the combination of CRISPR/Cas9 and HMC technology provided an efficient and new strategy for producing pigs with multiple genetic modifications.
Project description:Zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) are powerful tools for producing gene knockouts (KOs) with high efficiency. Whereas ZFN-mediated gene disruption has been demonstrated in laboratory animals such as mice, rats, and fruit flies, ZFNs have not been used to disrupt an endogenous gene in any large domestic species. Here we used ZFNs to induce a biallelic knockout of the porcine ?1,3-galactosyltransferase (GGTA1) gene. Primary porcine fibroblasts were treated with ZFNs designed against the region coding for the catalytic core of GGTA1, resulting in biallelic knockout of ?1% of ZFN-treated cells. A galactose (Gal) epitope counter-selected population of these cells was used in somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Of the resulting six fetuses, all completely lacked Gal epitopes and were phenotypically indistinguishable from the starting donor cell population, illustrating that ZFN-mediated genetic modification did not interfere with the cloning process. Neither off-target cleavage events nor integration of the ZFN-coding plasmid was detected. The GGTA1-KO phenotype was confirmed by a complement lysis assay that demonstrated protection of GGTA1-KO fibroblasts relative to wild-type cells. Cells from GGTA1-KO fetuses and pooled, transfected cells were used to produce live offspring via SCNT. This study reports the production of cloned pigs carrying a biallelic ZFN-induced knockout of an endogenous gene. These findings open a unique avenue toward the creation of gene KO pigs, which could benefit both agriculture and biomedicine.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pigs have many features that make them attractive as biomedical models for various diseases, including cancer. P53 is an important tumor suppressor gene that exerts a central role in protecting cells from oncogenic transformation and is mutated in a large number of human cancers. P53 mutations occur in almost every type of tumor and in over 50% of all tumors. In a recent publication, pigs with a mutated P53 gene were generated that resulted in lymphoma and renal and osteogenic tumors. However, approximately 80% of human tumors have dysfunctional P53. A P53-deficient pig model is still required to elucidate. METHODS:Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) were designed to target porcine P53 exon 4. The targeting activity was evaluated using a luciferase SSA recombination assay. P53 biallelic knockout (KO) cell lines were established from single-cell colonies of fetal fibroblasts derived from Diannan miniature pigs followed by electroporation with TALENs plasmids. One cell line was selected as the donor cell line for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) for the generation of P53 KO pigs. P53 KO stillborn fetuses and living piglets were obtained. Gene typing of the collected cloned individuals was performed by T7EI assay and sequencing. Fibroblast cells from Diannan miniature piglets with a P53 biallelic knockout or wild type were analyzed for the P53 response to doxorubicin treatment by confocal microscopy and western blotting. RESULTS:The luciferase SSA recombination assay revealed that the targeting activities of the designed TALENs were 55.35-fold higher than those of the control. Eight cell lines (8/19) were mutated for P53, and five of them were biallelic knockouts. One of the biallelic knockout cell lines was selected as nuclear donor cells for SCNT. The cloned embryos were transferred into five recipient gilts, three of them becoming pregnant. Five live fetuses were obtained from one surrogate by caesarean section after 38 days of gestation for genotyping. Finally, six live piglets and one stillborn piglet were collected from two recipients by caesarean section. Sequencing analyses of the target site confirmed the P53 biallelic knockout in all fetuses and piglets, consistent with the genotype of the donor cells. The qPCR analysis showed that the expression of the P53 mRNA had significant reduction in various tissues of the knockout piglets. Furthermore, confocal microscopy and western blotting analyses demonstrated that the fibroblast cells of Diannan miniature piglets with a P53 biallelic knockout were defective in mediating DNA damage when incubated with doxorubicin. CONCLUSION:TALENs combined with SCNT was successfully used to generate P53 KO Diannan miniature pigs. Although these genetically engineered Diannan miniature pigs had no tumorigenic signs, the P53 gene was dysfunctional. We believe that these pigs will provide powerful new resources for preclinical oncology and basic cancer research.
Project description:To create genetically modified goat as a biopharming source of recombinant human lacotoferrin (hLF) with transcription activator-like effector nucleases.TALENs and targeting vector were transferred into cultured fibroblasts to insert hLF cDNA in the goat beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) locus with homology-directed repair. The gene targeted efficiency was checked using sequencing and TE7I assay. The bi-allelic gene targeted colonies were isolated and confirmed with polymerase chain reaction, and used as donor cells for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).The targeted efficiency for BLG gene was approximately 10%. Among 12 Bi-allelic gene targeted colonies, five were used in first round SCNT and 4 recipients (23%) were confirmed pregnant at 30 d. In second round SCNT, 7 (53%), 4 (31%), and 3 (23%) recipients were confirmed to be pregnant by ultrasound on 30 d, 60 d, and 90 d.This finding signifies the combined use of TALENs and SCNT can generate bi-allelic knock-in fibroblasts that can be cloned in a fetus. Therefore, it might lay the foundation for transgenic hLF goat generation and possible use of their mammary gland as a bioreactor for large-scale production of recombinant hLF.
Project description:Multiple modifications of the porcine genome are required to prevent rejection after pig-to-primate xenotransplantation. Here, we produced pigs with a knockout of the ?1,3-galactosyltransferase gene (GGTA1-KO) combined with transgenic expression of the human anti-apoptotic/anti-inflammatory molecules heme oxygenase-1 and A20, and investigated their xenoprotective properties.The GGTA1-KO/human heme oxygenase-1 (hHO-1)/human A20 (hA20) transgenic pigs were produced in a stepwise approach using zinc finger nuclease vectors targeting the GGTA1 gene and a Sleeping Beauty vector coding for hA20. Two piglets were analyzed by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, flow cytometry, and sequencing. The biological function of the genetic modifications was tested in a (51)Chromium release assay and by ex vivo kidney perfusions with human blood.Disruption of the GGTA1 gene by deletion of few basepairs was demonstrated in GGTA1-KO/hHO-1/hA20 transgenic pigs. The hHO-1 and hA20 mRNA expression was confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Ex vivo perfusion of 2 transgenic kidneys was feasible for the maximum experimental time of 240 minutes without symptoms of rejection.Results indicate that GGTA1-KO/hHO-1/hA20 transgenic pigs are a promising model to alleviate rejection and ischemia-reperfusion damage in porcine xenografts and could serve as a background for further genetic modifications toward the production of a donor pig that is clinically relevant for xenotransplantation.
Project description:This article reports changes in the striatal non-synaptic mitochondrial proteome of DJ-1, Parkin, and PINK1 knockout (KO) rats at 3 months of age. DJ-1, Parkin, and PINK1 mutations cause autosomal-recessive parkinsonism. It is thought that loss of function of these proteins contributes to the onset and pathogenesis of Parkinson?s disease (PD). As DJ-1, Parkin, and PINK1 have functions in the regulation of mitochondria, the dataset generated here highlights protein expression changes, which can be helpful for understanding pathological mitochondrial alterations. In total, 1281 proteins were quantified and 25, 37, and 15 proteins were found to exhibit differential expression due to DJ-1, Parkin, and PINK1 deficiency, respectively. All quantification can be found in the supplemental table and can be searched online at http://genome.unmc.edu/mitorat/index.html. Further, mitochondrial respiration was measured to evaluate mitochondrial function in the striatum of DJ-1, Parkin, and PINK1 KO rats, which was significantly changed only in the DJ-1 KOs.
Project description:Recent developments in genome editing technology using meganucleases demonstrate an efficient method of producing gene edited pigs. In this study, we examined the effectiveness of the transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) system in generating specific mutations on the pig genome. Specific TALEN was designed to induce a double-strand break on exon 9 of the porcine ?1,3-galactosyltransferase (GGTA1) gene as it is the main cause of hyperacute rejection after xenotransplantation. Human decay-accelerating factor (hDAF) gene, which can produce a complement inhibitor to protect cells from complement attack after xenotransplantation, was also integrated into the genome simultaneously. Plasmids coding for the TALEN pair and hDAF gene were transfected into porcine cells by electroporation to disrupt the porcine GGTA1 gene and express hDAF. The transfected cells were then sorted using a biotin-labeled IB4 lectin attached to magnetic beads to obtain GGTA1 deficient cells. As a result, we established GGTA1 knockout (KO) cell lines with biallelic modification (35.0%) and GGTA1 KO cell lines expressing hDAF (13.0%). When these cells were used for somatic cell nuclear transfer, we successfully obtained live GGTA1 KO pigs expressing hDAF. Our results demonstrate that TALEN-mediated genome editing is efficient and can be successfully used to generate gene edited pigs.
Project description:Two well-characterized carbohydrate epitopes are absent in humans but present in other mammals. These are galactose-?1,3-galactose (?Gal) and N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) which are introduced by the activities of two enzymes including ?(1,3) galactosyltransferase (encoded by the GGTA1 gene) and CMP-Neu5Gc hydroxylase (encoded by the CMAH gene) that are inactive in humans but present in cattle. Hence, bovine-derived products are antigenic in humans who receive bioprosthetic heart valves (BHVs) or those that suffer from red meat syndrome. Using programmable nucleases, we disrupted (knockout, KO) GGTA1 and CMAH genes encoding for the enzymes that catalyse the synthesis of ?Gal and Neu5Gc, respectively, in both male and female bovine fibroblasts. The KO in clonally selected fibroblasts was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and confirmed by Sanger sequencing. Selected fibroblasts colonies were used for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) to produce cloned embryos that were implanted in surrogate recipient heifers. Fifty-three embryos were implanted in 33 recipients heifers; 3 pregnancies were carried to term and delivered 3 live calves. Primary cell cultures were established from the 3 calves and following molecular analyses confirmed the genetic deletions. FACS analysis showed the double-KO phenotype for both antigens confirming the mutated genotypes. Availability of such cattle double-KO model lacking both ?Gal and Neu5Gc offers a unique opportunity to study the functionality of BHV manufactured with tissues of potentially lower immunogenicity, as well as a possible new clinical approaches to help patients with red meat allergy syndrome due to the presence of these xenoantigens in the diet.