Optimizing sgRNA structure to improve CRISPR-Cas9 knockout efficiency.
ABSTRACT: Single-guide RNA (sgRNA) is one of the two key components of the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 genome-editing system. The current commonly used sgRNA structure has a shortened duplex compared with the native bacterial CRISPR RNA (crRNA)-transactivating crRNA (tracrRNA) duplex and contains a continuous sequence of thymines, which is the pause signal for RNA polymerase III and thus could potentially reduce transcription efficiency.Here, we systematically investigate the effect of these two elements on knockout efficiency and showed that modifying the sgRNA structure by extending the duplex length and mutating the fourth thymine of the continuous sequence of thymines to cytosine or guanine significantly, and sometimes dramatically, improves knockout efficiency in cells. In addition, the optimized sgRNA structure also significantly increases the efficiency of more challenging genome-editing procedures, such as gene deletion, which is important for inducing a loss of function in non-coding genes.By a systematic investigation of sgRNA structure we find that extending the duplex by approximately 5 bp combined with mutating the continuous sequence of thymines at position 4 to cytosine or guanine significantly increases gene knockout efficiency in CRISPR-Cas9-based genome editing experiments.
Project description:The current commonly used single-guide RNA (sgRNA) structure has a shortened duplex compared with the native bacterial clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats RNA (crRNA)–transactivating crRNA (tracrRNA) duplex. Here we show that modifying the sgRNA structure by extending the duplex length and mutating the fourth T of the continuous sequence of Ts (which is the pause signal for RNA polymerase III [pol III]) to C or G significantly, and sometimes dramatically, improves knockout efficiency in cells. In addition, the new sgRNA structure also significantly increases the efficiency of more challenging genome-editing procedures, such as gene deletion, which is important for inducing a loss-of-function in non-coding genes. Overall design: Gene editing efficiency of different sgRNA design in TZM-bl cells
Project description:Since its initial application in mammalian cells, CRISPR-Cas9 has rapidly become a preferred method for genome engineering experiments. The Cas9 nuclease is targeted to genomic DNA using guide RNAs (gRNA), either as the native dual RNA system consisting of a DNA-targeting CRISPR RNA (crRNA) and a trans-activating crRNA (tracrRNA), or as a chimeric single guide RNA (sgRNA). Entirely DNA-free CRISPR-Cas9 systems using either Cas9 protein or Cas9 mRNA and chemically synthesized gRNAs allow for transient expression of CRISPR-Cas9 components, thereby reducing the potential for off-targeting, which is a significant advantage in therapeutic applications. In addition, the use of synthetic gRNA allows for the incorporation of chemical modifications for enhanced properties including improved stability. Previous studies have demonstrated the utility of chemically modified gRNAs, but have focused on one pattern with multiple modifications in co-electroporation with Cas9 mRNA or multiple modifications and patterns with Cas9 plasmid lipid co-transfections. Here we present gene editing results using a series of chemically modified synthetic sgRNA molecules and chemically modified crRNA:tracrRNA molecules in both electroporation and lipid transfection assessing indel formation and/or phenotypic gene knockout. We show that while modifications are required for co-electroporation with Cas9 mRNA, some modification patterns of the gRNA are toxic to cells compared to the unmodified gRNA and most modification patterns do not significantly improve gene editing efficiency. We also present modification patterns of the gRNA that can modestly improve Cas9 gene editing efficiency when co-transfected with Cas9 mRNA or Cas9 protein (> 1.5-fold difference). These results indicate that for certain applications, including those relevant to primary cells, the incorporation of some, but not all chemical modification patterns on synthetic crRNA:tracrRNA or sgRNA can be beneficial to CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>CRISPR/Cas9 mediated gene knockout is a powerful tool for genome editing with the ability to target multiple genes simultaneously. Establishing an efficient, multiplexed gene knockout system using CRISPR/Cas9 that is both simple and robust in its application would further advance the adoption of CRISPR/Cas9 for genetic studies.<h4>Results</h4>In this study, we present a simple, versatile and highly efficient method to achieve acute gene knockout with CRISPR/Cas9 using chemically synthesized crRNA and tracrRNA oligos. We demonstrate that co-transfection of the crRNA:tracrRNA duplex into Cas9-expressing cells leads to target gene mutation and loss of target protein expression in the majority of the cell population. We also show that delivering three crRNAs targeting EGFP, KRAS and PTEN in the same reaction leads to the simultaneous knockout of all three genes. Direct comparison of multiplexed gene targeting by crRNA:tracrRNA and by siRNA indicates that these two methods are comparable in their efficiency and kinetics of gene silencing.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our method is a convenient yet powerful tool to enable rapid and scalable gene knockout using CRISPR/Cas9 in mammalian cells.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9 is a versatile RNA-guided genome editing tool. Here we demonstrate that partial replacement of RNA nucleotides with DNA nucleotides in CRISPR RNA (crRNA) enables efficient gene editing in human cells. This strategy of partial DNA replacement retains on-target activity when used with both crRNA and sgRNA, as well as with multiple guide sequences. Partial DNA replacement also works for crRNA of Cpf1, another CRISPR system. We find that partial DNA replacement in the guide sequence significantly reduces off-target genome editing through focused analysis of off-target cleavage, measurement of mismatch tolerance and genome-wide profiling of off-target sites. Using the structure of the Cas9-sgRNA complex as a guide, the majority of the 3' end of crRNA can be replaced with DNA nucleotide, and the 5 - and 3'-DNA-replaced crRNA enables efficient genome editing. Cas9 guided by a DNA-RNA chimera may provide a generalized strategy to reduce both the cost and the off-target genome editing in human cells.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9 has been widely adopted as the basic toolkit for precise genome-editing and engineering in various organisms. Alternative to Cas9, Cas12 or Cpf1 uses a simple crRNA as a guide and expands the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) sequence to TTTN. This unique PAM sequence of Cpf1 may significantly increase the on-target editing efficiency due to lower chance of Cpf1 misreading the PAMs on a high GC genome. To demonstrate the utility of CRISPR-Cpf1, we have optimized the CRISPR-Cpf1 system and achieved high-editing efficiency for two counter-selectable markers in the industrially-relevant oleaginous yeast <i>Yarrowia lipolytica</i>: arginine permease (93% for <i>CAN1</i>) and orotidine 5'-phosphate decarboxylase (~96% for <i>URA3</i>). Both mutations were validated by indel mutation sequencing. For the first time, we further expanded this toolkit to edit three sulfur house-keeping genetic markers (40%-75% for <i>MET2</i>, <i>MET6</i> and <i>MET25</i>), which confers yeast distinct colony color changes due to the formation of PbS (lead sulfide) precipitates. Different from Cas9, we demonstrated that the crRNA transcribed from a standard type II RNA promoter was sufficient to guide Cpf1 endonuclease activity. Furthermore, modification of the crRNA with 3' polyUs facilitates the faster maturation and folding of crRNA and improve the genome editing efficiency. We also achieved multiplexed genome editing, and the editing efficiency reached 75%-83% for duplex genomic targets (<i>CAN1</i>-<i>URA3</i> and <i>CAN1</i>-<i>MET25</i>) and 41.7% for triplex genomic targets (<i>CAN1</i>-<i>URA3</i>-<i>MET25</i>). Taken together, this work expands the genome-editing toolbox for oleaginous yeast species and may accelerate our ability to engineer oleaginous yeast for both biotechnological and biomedical applications.
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9 is a powerful gene editing tool for gene knockout studies and functional genomic screens. Successful implementation of CRISPR often requires Cas9 to elicit efficient target knockout in a population of cells. In this study, we investigated the role of several key factors, including variation in target copy number, inherent potency of sgRNA guides, and expression level of Cas9 and sgRNA, in determining CRISPR knockout efficiency. Using isogenic, clonal cell lines with variable copy numbers of an EGFP transgene, we discovered that CRISPR knockout is relatively insensitive to target copy number, but is highly dependent on the potency of the sgRNA guide sequence. Kinetic analysis revealed that most target mutation occurs between 5 and 10 days following Cas9/sgRNA transduction, while sgRNAs with different potencies differ by their knockout time course and by their terminal-phase knockout efficiency. We showed that prolonged, low level expression of Cas9 and sgRNA often fails to elicit target mutation, particularly if the potency of the sgRNA is also low. Our findings provide new insights into the behavior of CRISPR/Cas9 in mammalian cells that could be used for future improvement of this platform.
Project description:The CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system requires Cas9 endonuclease and guide RNAs (either the natural dual RNA consisting of crRNA and tracrRNA or a chimeric single guide RNA) that direct site-specific double-stranded DNA cleavage. This communication describes a click ligation approach that uses alkyne-azide cycloaddition to generate a triazole-linked single guide RNA (sgRNA). The conjugated sgRNA shows efficient and comparable genome editing activity to natural dual RNA and unmodified sgRNA constructs.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a powerful genome editing tool for the production of genetically modified animals. To produce mutant mice, chimeric single-guide RNA (sgRNA) is cloned in a plasmid vector and a mixture of sgRNA and Cas9 are microinjected into the fertilized eggs. An issue associated with gene manipulation using the CRISPR/Cas9 system is that there can be off-target effects. To simplify the production of mutant mice with low risks of off-target effects caused by the CRISPR/Cas9 system, we demonstrated that genetically modified mice can be efficiently obtained using chemically synthesized CRISPR RNA (crRNA), trans-activating crRNA (tracrRNA), and modified Cas9s, such as the nickase version and FokI-fused catalytically inactive Cas9, by microinjection into fertilized eggs. Using this method, it is no longer necessary to clone sgRNA into a plasmid vector, and this enables high-throughput production of mutant mice.
Project description:We present novel observations of high-specificity SpCas9 variants, sgRNA expression strategies based on mutant sgRNA scaffold and tRNA processing system, and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated T-DNA integrations. Specificity of CRISPR/Cas9 tools has been a major concern along with the reports of their successful applications. We report unexpected observations of high frequency off-target mutagenesis induced by CRISPR/Cas9 in T1 Arabidopsis mutants although the sgRNA was predicted to have a high specificity score. We also present evidence that the off-target effects were further exacerbated in the T2 progeny. To prevent the off-target effects, we tested and optimized two strategies in Arabidopsis, including introduction of a mCherry cassette for a simple and reliable isolation of Cas9-free mutants and the use of highly specific mutant SpCas9 variants. Optimization of the mCherry vectors and subsequent validation found that fusion of tRNA with the mutant rather than the original sgRNA scaffold significantly improves editing efficiency. We then examined the editing efficiency of eight high-specificity SpCas9 variants in combination with the improved tRNA-sgRNA fusion strategy. Our results suggest that highly specific SpCas9 variants require a higher level of expression than their wild-type counterpart to maintain high editing efficiency. Additionally, we demonstrate that T-DNA can be inserted into the cleavage sites of CRISPR/Cas9 targets with high frequency. Altogether, our results suggest that in plants, continuous attention should be paid to off-target effects induced by CRISPR/Cas9 in current and subsequent generations, and that the tools optimized in this report will be useful in improving genome editing efficiency and specificity in plants and other organisms.