Enhancing the genome editing toolbox: genome wide CRISPR arrayed libraries.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) genome-editing experiments offer enormous potential for the evaluation of genomic loci using arrayed single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) or pooled sgRNA libraries. Numerous computational tools are available to help design sgRNAs with optimal on-target efficiency and minimal off-target potential. In addition, computational tools have been developed to analyze deep-sequencing data resulting from genome-editing experiments. However, these tools are typically developed in isolation and oftentimes are not readily translatable into laboratory-based experiments. Here, we present a protocol that describes in detail both the computational and benchtop implementation of an arrayed and/or pooled CRISPR genome-editing experiment. This protocol provides instructions for sgRNA design with CRISPOR (computational tool for the design, evaluation, and cloning of sgRNA sequences), experimental implementation, and analysis of the resulting high-throughput sequencing data with CRISPResso (computational tool for analysis of genome-editing outcomes from deep-sequencing data). This protocol allows for design and execution of arrayed and pooled CRISPR experiments in 4-5 weeks by non-experts, as well as computational data analysis that can be performed in 1-2 d by both computational and noncomputational biologists alike using web-based and/or command-line versions.
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: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:The CRISPR/Cas9-sgRNA system has been developed to mediate genome editing and become a powerful tool for biological research. Employing the CRISPR/Cas9-sgRNA system for genome editing and manipulation has accelerated research and expanded researchers' ability to generate genetic models. However, the method evaluating the efficiency of sgRNAs is lacking in plants. Based on the nucleotide compositions and secondary structures of sgRNAs which have been experimentally validated in plants, we instituted criteria to design efficient sgRNAs. To facilitate the assembly of multiple sgRNA cassettes, we also developed a new strategy to rapidly construct CRISPR/Cas9-sgRNA system for multiplex editing in plants. In theory, up to ten single guide RNA (sgRNA) cassettes can be simultaneously assembled into the final binary vectors. As a proof of concept, 21 sgRNAs complying with the criteria were designed and the corresponding Cas9/sgRNAs expression vectors were constructed. Sequencing analysis of transgenic rice plants suggested that 82% of the desired target sites were edited with deletion, insertion, substitution, and inversion, displaying high editing efficiency. This work provides a convenient approach to select efficient sgRNAs for target editing.
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:Pooled CRISPR screens based on lentiviral systems have been widely applied to identify the effect of gene knockout on cellular phenotype. Although many screens were successful, they also have the limitation that genes conferring mild phenotypes or those essential for growth can be overlooked, as every genetic perturbation is incorporated in the same population. Arrayed screens, on the other hand, incorporate a single genetic perturbation in each well and could overcome these limitations. However, arrayed screens based on siRNA-mediated knockdown were recently criticized for low reproducibility caused by incomplete inhibition of gene expression. To overcome these limitations, we developed a novel arrayed CRISPR screen based on a plasmid library expressing a single guide RNA (sgRNA) and disrupted 1514 genes, encoding kinases, proteins related to endocytosis, and Golgi-localized proteins, individually using 4542 sgRNAs (three sgRNAs per gene). This screen revealed host factors required for infection by coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) from Picornaviridae, which includes human pathogens causing diverse diseases. Many host factors that had been overlooked in a conventional pooled screen were identified for CVB3 infection, including entry-related factors, translational initiation factors, and several replication factors with different functions, demonstrating the advantage of the arrayed screen. This screen was quite reliable and reproducible, as most genes identified in the primary screen were confirmed in secondary screens. Moreover, ACBD3, whose phenotype was not affected by siRNA-mediated knockdown, was reliably identified. We propose that arrayed CRISPR screens based on sgRNA plasmid libraries are powerful tools for arrayed genetic screening and applicable to larger-scale screens.
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:Kiwifruit is an important fruit crop; however, technologies for its functional genomic and molecular improvement are limited. The clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein (Cas) system has been successfully applied to genetic improvement in many crops, but its editing capability is variable depending on the different combinations of the synthetic guide RNA (sgRNA) and Cas9 protein expression devices. Optimizing conditions for its use within a particular species is therefore needed to achieve highly efficient genome editing. In this study, we developed a new cloning strategy for generating paired-sgRNA/Cas9 vectors containing four sgRNAs targeting the kiwifruit phytoene desaturase gene (AcPDS). Comparing to the previous method of paired-sgRNA cloning, our strategy only requires the synthesis of two gRNA-containing primers which largely reduces the cost. We further compared efficiencies of paired-sgRNA/Cas9 vectors containing different sgRNA expression devices, including both the polycistronic tRNA-sgRNA cassette (PTG) and the traditional CRISPR expression cassette. We found the mutagenesis frequency of the PTG/Cas9 system was 10-fold higher than that of the CRISPR/Cas9 system, coinciding with the relative expressions of sgRNAs in two different expression cassettes. In particular, we identified large chromosomal fragment deletions induced by the paired-sgRNAs of the PTG/Cas9 system. Finally, as expected, we found both systems can successfully induce the albino phenotype of kiwifruit plantlets regenerated from the G418-resistance callus lines. We conclude that the PTG/Cas9 system is a more powerful system than the traditional CRISPR/Cas9 system for kiwifruit genome editing, which provides valuable clues for optimizing CRISPR/Cas9 editing system in other plants.
Project description:Arrayed genetic screens mediated by the CRISPR/Cas9 technology with single guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries demand a high-throughput platform capable of transfecting diverse cell types at a high efficiency in a genome-wide scale for detection and analysis of sophisticated cellular phenotypes. Here we developed a high-throughput in situ cell electroporation (HiCEP) microsystem which leveraged the superhydrophobic feature of the microwell array to achieve individually controlled conditions in each microwell and coupled an interdigital electrode array chip with the microwells in a modular-based scheme for highly efficient delivery of exogenous molecules into cells. Two plasmids encoding enhanced green and red fluorescent proteins (EGFP and ERFP), respectively, were successfully electroporated into attached HeLa cells on a 169-microwell array chip with transfection efficiencies of 71.6?±?11.4% and 62.9?±?2.7%, and a cell viability above 95%. We also successfully conducted selective electroporation of sgRNA into 293T cells expressing the Cas9 nuclease in a high-throughput manner and observed the four-fold increase of the GFP intensities due to the repair of the protein coding sequences mediated by the CRISPR/Cas9 system. This study proved that this HiCEP system has the great potential to be used for arrayed functional screens with genome-wide CRISPR libraries on hard-to-transfect cells in the future.