Chromosome engineering in zygotes with CRISPR/Cas9.
ABSTRACT: Deletions, duplications, and inversions of large genomic regions covering several genes are an important class of disease causing variants in humans. Modeling these structural variants in mice requires multistep processes in ES cells, which has limited their availability. Mutant mice containing small insertions, deletions, and single nucleotide polymorphisms can be reliably generated using CRISPR/Cas9 directly in mouse zygotes. Large structural variants can be generated using CRISPR/Cas9 in ES cells, but it has not been possible to generate these directly in zygotes. We now demonstrate the direct generation of deletions, duplications and inversions of up to one million base pairs by zygote injection.
Project description:ZFN, TALENs and CRISPR/Cas9 system have been used to generate point mutations and large fragment deletions and insertions in genomic modifications. CRISPR/Cas9 system is the most flexible and fast developing technology that has been extensively used to make mutations in all kinds of organisms. However, the most mutations reported up to date are small insertions and deletions. In this report, CRISPR/Cas9 system was used to make large DNA fragment deletions and insertions, including entire Dip2a gene deletion, about 65kb in size, and ?-galactosidase (lacZ) reporter gene insertion of larger than 5kb in mouse. About 11.8% (11/93) are positive for 65kb deletion from transfected and diluted ES clones. High targeting efficiencies in ES cells were also achieved with G418 selection, 46.2% (12/26) and 73.1% (19/26) for left and right arms respectively. Targeted large fragment deletion efficiency is about 21.4% of live pups or 6.0% of injected embryos. Targeted insertion of lacZ reporter with NEO cassette showed 27.1% (13/48) of targeting rate by ES cell transfection and 11.1% (2/18) by direct zygote injection. The procedures have bypassed in vitro transcription by directly co-injection of zygotes or co-transfection of embryonic stem cells with circular plasmid DNA. The methods are technically easy, time saving, and cost effective in generating mouse models and will certainly facilitate gene function studies.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 system has rapidly advanced targeted genome editing technologies. However, its efficiency in targeting with constructs in mouse zygotes via homology directed repair (HDR) remains low. Here, we systematically explored optimal parameters for targeting constructs in mouse zygotes via HDR using mouse embryonic stem cells as a model system. We characterized several parameters, including single guide RNA cleavage activity and the length and symmetry of homology arms in the construct, and we compared the targeting efficiency between Cas9, Cas9nickase, and dCas9-FokI. We then applied the optimized conditions to zygotes, delivering Cas9 as either mRNA or protein. We found that Cas9 nucleo-protein complex promotes highly efficient, multiplexed targeting of circular constructs containing reporter genes and floxed exons. This approach allows for a one-step zygote injection procedure targeting multiple genes to generate conditional alleles via homologous recombination, and simultaneous knockout of corresponding genes in non-targeted alleles via non-homologous end joining.
Project description:The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 system has facilitated dramatic progress in the field of genome engineering. Whilst microinjection of the Cas9 protein and a single guide RNA (sgRNA) into mouse zygotes is a widespread method for producing genetically engineered mice, in vitro and in vivo electroporation (which are much more convenient strategies) have recently been developed. However, it remains unknown whether these electroporation methods are able to manipulate genomes at the chromosome level. In the present study, we used these techniques to introduce chromosomal inversions of several megabases (Mb) in length in mouse zygotes. Using in vitro electroporation, we successfully introduced a 7.67?Mb inversion, which is longer than any previously reported inversion produced using microinjection-based methods. Additionally, using in vivo electroporation, we also introduced a long chromosomal inversion by targeting an allele in F1 hybrid mice. To our knowledge, the present study is the first report of target-specific chromosomal inversions in mammalian zygotes using electroporation.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been employed to efficiently edit the genomes of diverse model organisms. CRISPR-mediated mouse genome editing is typically accomplished by microinjection of Cas9 DNA/RNA and single guide RNA (sgRNA) into zygotes to generate modified animals in one step. However, microinjection is a technically demanding, labor-intensive, and costly procedure with poor embryo viability. Here, we describe a simple and economic electroporation-based strategy to deliver Cas9/sgRNA ribonucleoproteins into mouse zygotes with 100% efficiency for in vivo genome editing. Our methodology, designated as CRISPR RNP Electroporation of Zygotes (CRISPR-EZ), enables highly efficient and high-throughput genome editing in vivo, with a significant improvement in embryo viability compared with microinjection. Using CRISPR-EZ, we generated a variety of editing schemes in mouse embryos, including indel (insertion/deletion) mutations, point mutations, large deletions, and small insertions. In a proof-of-principle experiment, we used CRISPR-EZ to target the tyrosinase (Tyr) gene, achieving 88% bi-allelic editing and 42% homology-directed repair-mediated precise sequence modification in live mice. Taken together, CRISPR-EZ is simple, economic, high throughput, and highly efficient with the potential to replace microinjection for in vivo genome editing in mice and possibly in other mammals.
Project description:Tyrosinase is the rate-limiting enzyme for the production of melanin pigmentation. In the mouse and other animals, homozygous null mutations in the Tyrosinase gene (Tyr) result in the absence of pigmentation, i.e. albinism. Here we used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to generate mono- and bi-allelic null mutations in the Tyr locus by zygote injection of two single-guide and Cas9 RNAs. Injection into C57BL/6N wild-type embryos resulted in one completely albino founder carrying two different Tyr mutations. In addition, three pigmentation mosaics and fully pigmented littermates were obtained that transmitted new mutant Tyr alleles to progeny in test crosses with albinos. Injection into Tyr heterozygous (B6CBAF1/J×FVB/NJ) zygotes resulted in the generation of numerous albinos and also mice with a graded range of albino mosaicism. Deep sequencing revealed that the majority of the albinos and the mosaics had more than two new mutant alleles. These visual phenotypes and molecular genotypes highlight the somatic mosaicism and allele complexity in founders that occurs for targeted genes during CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis by zygote injection in mice.
Project description:The human genome contains millions of DNA regulatory elements and a large number of gene clusters, most of which have not been tested experimentally. The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated nuclease 9 (Cas9) programed with a synthetic single-guide RNA (sgRNA) emerges as a method for genome editing in virtually any organisms. Here we report that targeted DNA fragment inversions and duplications could easily be achieved in human and mouse genomes by CRISPR with two sgRNAs. Specifically, we found that, in cultured human cells and mice, efficient precise inversions of DNA fragments ranging in size from a few tens of bp to hundreds of kb could be generated. In addition, DNA fragment duplications and deletions could also be generated by CRISPR through trans-allelic recombination between the Cas9-induced double-strand breaks (DSBs) on two homologous chromosomes (chromatids). Moreover, junctions of combinatorial inversions and duplications of the protocadherin (Pcdh) gene clusters induced by Cas9 with four sgRNAs could be detected. In mice, we obtained founders with alleles of precise inversions, duplications, and deletions of DNA fragments of variable sizes by CRISPR. Interestingly, we found that very efficient inversions were mediated by microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ) through short inverted repeats. We showed for the first time that DNA fragment inversions could be transmitted through germlines in mice. Finally, we applied this CRISPR method to a regulatory element of the Pcdh? cluster and found a new role in the regulation of members of the Pcdh? cluster. This simple and efficient method should be useful in manipulating mammalian genomes to study millions of regulatory DNA elements as well as vast numbers of gene clusters.
Project description:While CRISPR/Cas9 technology has proven to be a valuable system to generate gene-targeted modified animals in several species, this tool has been scarcely reported in farm animals. Myostatin is encoded by MSTN gene involved in the inhibition of muscle differentiation and growth. We determined the efficiency of the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit MSTN in sheep and generate knock-out (KO) animals with the aim to promote muscle development and body growth. We generated CRISPR/Cas9 mRNAs specific for ovine MSTN and microinjected them into the cytoplasm of ovine zygotes. When embryo development of CRISPR/Cas9 microinjected zygotes (n = 216) was compared with buffer injected embryos (n = 183) and non microinjected embryos (n = 173), cleavage rate was lower for both microinjected groups (P<0.05) and neither was affected by CRISPR/Cas9 content in the injected medium. Embryo development to blastocyst was not affected by microinjection and was similar among the experimental groups. From 20 embryos analyzed by Sanger sequencing, ten were mutant (heterozygous or mosaic; 50% efficiency). To obtain live MSTN KO lambs, 53 blastocysts produced after zygote CRISPR/Cas9 microinjection were transferred to 29 recipient females resulting in 65.5% (19/29) of pregnant ewes and 41.5% (22/53) of newborns. From 22 born lambs analyzed by T7EI and Sanger sequencing, ten showed indel mutations at MSTN gene. Eight showed mutations in both alleles and five of them were homozygous for indels generating out-of frame mutations that resulted in premature stop codons. Western blot analysis of homozygous KO founders confirmed the absence of myostatin, showing heavier body weight than wild type counterparts. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9 system was a very efficient tool to generate gene KO sheep. This technology is quick and easy to perform and less expensive than previous techniques, and can be applied to obtain genetically modified animal models of interest for biomedicine and livestock.
Project description:The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein (Cas) system is an adaptive immune system in bacteria and archaea that has recently been exploited for genome engineering. Mutant mice can be generated in one step through direct delivery of the CRISPR/Cas9 components into a mouse zygote. Although the technology is robust, delivery remains a bottleneck, as it involves manual injection of the components into the pronuclei or the cytoplasm of mouse zygotes, which is technically demanding and inherently low throughput. To overcome this limitation, we employed electroporation as a means to deliver the CRISPR/Cas9 components, including Cas9 messenger RNA, single-guide RNA, and donor oligonucleotide, into mouse zygotes and recovered live mice with targeted nonhomologous end joining and homology-directed repair mutations with high efficiency. Our results demonstrate that mice carrying CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted mutations can be obtained with high efficiency by zygote electroporation.
Project description:Electroporation of zygotes represents a rapid alternative to the elaborate pronuclear injection procedure for CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing in mice. However, current protocols for electroporation either require the investment in specialized electroporators or corrosive pre-treatment of zygotes which compromises embryo viability. Here, we describe an easily adaptable approach for the introduction of specific mutations in C57BL/6 mice by electroporation of intact zygotes using a common electroporator with synthetic CRISPR/Cas9 components and minimal technical requirement. Direct comparison to conventional pronuclear injection demonstrates significantly reduced physical damage and thus improved embryo development with successful genome editing in up to 100% of living offspring. Hence, our novel approach for Easy Electroporation of Zygotes (EEZy) allows highly efficient generation of CRISPR/Cas9 transgenic mice while reducing the numbers of animals required.
Project description:Genome editing tools such as the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-associated system (Cas) have been widely used to modify genes in model systems including animal zygotes and human cells, and hold tremendous promise for both basic research and clinical applications. To date, a serious knowledge gap remains in our understanding of DNA repair mechanisms in human early embryos, and in the efficiency and potential off-target effects of using technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 in human pre-implantation embryos. In this report, we used tripronuclear (3PN) zygotes to further investigate CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human cells. We found that CRISPR/Cas9 could effectively cleave the endogenous ?-globin gene (HBB). However, the efficiency of homologous recombination directed repair (HDR) of HBB was low and the edited embryos were mosaic. Off-target cleavage was also apparent in these 3PN zygotes as revealed by the T7E1 assay and whole-exome sequencing. Furthermore, the endogenous delta-globin gene (HBD), which is homologous to HBB, competed with exogenous donor oligos to act as the repair template, leading to untoward mutations. Our data also indicated that repair of the HBB locus in these embryos occurred preferentially through the non-crossover HDR pathway. Taken together, our work highlights the pressing need to further improve the fidelity and specificity of the CRISPR/Cas9 platform, a prerequisite for any clinical applications of CRSIPR/Cas9-mediated editing.