CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout screens and target identification via whole-genome sequencing uncover host genes required for picornavirus infection.
ABSTRACT: 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 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: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 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: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/Cas9 is a promising tool in prokaryotic genome engineering, but its success is limited by the widely varying on-target activity of single guide RNAs (sgRNAs). Based on the association of CRISPR/Cas9-induced DNA cleavage with cellular lethality, we systematically profiled sgRNA activity by co-expressing a genome-scale library (?70 000 sgRNAs) with Cas9 or its specificity-improved mutant in Escherichia coli. Based on this large-scale dataset, we constructed a comprehensive and high-density sgRNA activity map, which enables selecting highly active sgRNAs for any locus across the genome in this model organism. We also identified 'resistant' genomic loci with respect to CRISPR/Cas9 activity, notwithstanding the highly accessible DNA in bacterial cells. Moreover, we found that previous sgRNA activity prediction models that were trained on mammalian cell datasets were inadequate when coping with our results, highlighting the key limitations and biases of previous models. We hence developed an integrated algorithm to accurately predict highly effective sgRNAs, aiming to facilitate CRISPR/Cas9-based genome engineering, screenings and antimicrobials design in bacteria. We also isolated the important sgRNA features that contribute to DNA cleavage and characterized their key differences among wild type Cas9 and its mutant, shedding light on the biophysical mechanisms of the CRISPR/Cas9 system.
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.
Project description: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: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 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:Cas9 nucleases can be programmed with single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) to mediate gene editing. High CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout efficiencies are essential for genetic screens and critically depend on the properties of the sgRNAs used. The specificity of an sgRNA is defined by its targeting sequence. Here, we discovered that two short sequence motifs at the 3' end of the targeting sequence are almost exclusively present in inefficient sgRNAs of published sgRNA-activity datasets. By specific knock-in of sgRNA target sequences with or without these motifs and quantitative measurement of knockout efficiency, we show that the presence of these motifs in sgRNAs per se results in a 10-fold reduction of gene knockout frequencies. Mechanistically, the cause of the low efficiency differs between the two motifs. These sequence motifs are relevant for future sgRNA design approaches and studies of Cas9-DNA interactions.