Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 knockout and transcriptional activation screening.
ABSTRACT: Forward genetic screens are powerful tools for the unbiased discovery and functional characterization of specific genetic elements associated with a phenotype of interest. Recently, the RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9 from the microbial CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) immune system has been adapted for genome-scale screening by combining Cas9 with pooled guide RNA libraries. Here we describe a protocol for genome-scale knockout and transcriptional activation screening using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Custom- or ready-made guide RNA libraries are constructed and packaged into lentiviral vectors for delivery into cells for screening. As each screen is unique, we provide guidelines for determining screening parameters and maintaining sufficient coverage. To validate candidate genes identified by the screen, we further describe strategies for confirming the screening phenotype, as well as genetic perturbation, through analysis of indel rate and transcriptional activation. Beginning with library design, a genome-scale screen can be completed in 9-15 weeks, followed by 4-5 weeks of validation.
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9 is becoming an increasingly important tool to functionally annotate genomes. However, because genome-wide CRISPR libraries are mostly constructed in lentiviral vectors, in vivo applications are severely limited as a result of difficulties in delivery. Here, we examined the piggyBac (PB) transposon as an alternative vehicle to deliver a guide RNA (gRNA) library for in vivo screening. Although tumor induction has previously been achieved in mice by targeting cancer genes with the CRISPR/Cas9 system, in vivo genome-scale screening has not been reported. With our PB-CRISPR libraries, we conducted an in vivo genome-wide screen in mice and identified genes mediating liver tumorigenesis, including known and unknown tumor suppressor genes (TSGs). Our results demonstrate that PB can be a simple and nonviral choice for efficient in vivo delivery of CRISPR libraries.
Project description:Genome-wide CRISPR screening is a powerful tool to identify genes required under selective conditions. However, the inherent scale of genome-wide libraries can limit their application in experimental settings where cell numbers are restricted, such as in vivo infections or single cell analysis. The use of small scale CRISPR libraries targeting gene subsets circumvents this problem. Here we develop a method for rapid generation of custom guide RNA (gRNA) libraries using arrayed single-stranded oligonucleotides for reproducible pooled cloning of CRISPR/Cas9 libraries. We use this system to generate mutant pools of different sizes in the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondi and describe optimised analysis methods for small scale libraries. An in vivo genetic screen in the murine host identifies novel and known virulence factors and we confirm results using cloned knock-out parasites. Our study also reveals a potential trans-rescue of individual knock-out parasites in pools of mutants compared to homogenous knock-out lines of the key virulence factor MYR1.
Project description:CRISPR guide RNA libraries have been iteratively improved to provide increasingly efficient reagents, although their large size is a barrier for many applications. We design an optimised minimal genome-wide human CRISPR-Cas9 library (MinLibCas9) by mining existing large-scale gene loss-of-function datasets, resulting in a greater than 42% reduction in size compared to other CRISPR-Cas9 libraries while preserving assay sensitivity and specificity. MinLibCas9 provides backward compatibility with existing datasets, increases the dynamic range of CRISPR-Cas9 screens and extends their application to complex models and assays.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9-based screening with single-guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries has emerged as a revolutionary tool for comprehensive analysis of genetic elements. However, genome-scale sgRNA libraries are currently available only in a few model organisms. The traditional approach is to synthesize thousands to tens of thousands of sgRNAs, which is laborious and expensive. We have developed a simple method, RELATe (restriction/ligation coupled with Agrobacterium-mediated transformation), to generate sgRNA libraries from 10 ?g of genomic DNA, targeting over 98% of the protein-coding genes in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans Functional screens identified 142 potential C. neoformans genes contributing to blood-brain barrier penetration. We selected two cryptococcal genes, SFP1 and WDR1, for a proof-of-concept demonstration that RELATe-identified genes are relevant to C. neoformans central nervous system infection. Our RELATe method can be used in many other fungal species and is powerful and cost-effective for genome-wide high-throughput screening for elucidating functional genomics.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Genome editing by CRISPR-Cas9 technology allows large-scale screening of gene essentiality in cancer. A confounding factor when interpreting CRISPR-Cas9 screens is the high false-positive rate in detecting essential genes within copy number amplified regions of the genome. We have developed the computational tool CRISPRcleanR which is capable of identifying and correcting gene-independent responses to CRISPR-Cas9 targeting. CRISPRcleanR uses an unsupervised approach based on the segmentation of single-guide RNA fold change values across the genome, without making any assumption about the copy number status of the targeted genes. RESULTS:Applying our method to existing and newly generated genome-wide essentiality profiles from 15 cancer cell lines, we demonstrate that CRISPRcleanR reduces false positives when calling essential genes, correcting biases within and outside of amplified regions, while maintaining true positive rates. Established cancer dependencies and essentiality signals of amplified cancer driver genes are detectable post-correction. CRISPRcleanR reports sgRNA fold changes and normalised read counts, is therefore compatible with downstream analysis tools, and works with multiple sgRNA libraries. CONCLUSIONS:CRISPRcleanR is a versatile open-source tool for the analysis of CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screens to identify essential genes.
Project description:Genetic screens using CRISPR/Cas9 are a powerful method for the functional analysis of genomes.Here we describe CRISPR library designer (CLD), an integrated bioinformatics application for the design of custom single guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries for all organisms with annotated genomes. CLD is suitable for the design of libraries using modified CRISPR enzymes and targeting non-coding regions. To demonstrate its utility, we perform a pooled screen for modulators of the TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway using a custom library of 12,471 sgRNAs.CLD predicts a high fraction of functional sgRNAs and is publicly available at https://github.com/boutroslab/cld.
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:Genome-wide CRISPR-based knockout (CRISPR-KO) screening is an emerging technique which enables systematic genetic analysis of a cellular or molecular phenotype in question. Continuous improvements, such as modifications to the guide RNA (gRNA) scaffold and the development of gRNA on-target prediction algorithms, have since been made to increase their screening performance. We compared the performance of three available second-generation human genome-wide CRISPR-KO libraries that included at least one of the improvements, and examined the effect of gRNA scaffold, number of gRNAs per gene and number of replicates on screen performance. We identified duplicated screens using a library with 6 gRNAs per gene as providing the best trade-off. Despite the improvements, we found that each improved library still has library-specific false negatives and, for the first time, estimated the false negative rates of CRISPR-KO screens, which are between 10% and 20%. Our newly-defined optimal screening parameters would be helpful in designing screens and constructing bespoke gRNA libraries.
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:Precise genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 is a promising therapeutic avenue for genetic diseases, although off-target editing remains a significant safety concern. Guide RNAs shorter than 16 nucleotides in length effectively recruit Cas9 to complementary sites in the genome but do not permit Cas9 nuclease activity. Here we describe CRISPR Guide RNA Assisted Reduction of Damage (CRISPR GUARD) as a method for protecting off-targets sites by co-delivery of short guide RNAs directed against off-target loci by competition with the on-target guide RNA. CRISPR GUARD reduces off-target mutagenesis while retaining on-target editing efficiencies with Cas9 and base editor. However, we discover that short guide RNAs can also support base editing if they contain cytosines within the deaminase activity window. We explore design rules and the universality of this method through in vitro studies and high-throughput screening, revealing CRISPR GUARD as a rapidly implementable strategy to improve the specificity of genome editing for most genomic loci. Finally, we create an online tool for CRISPR GUARD design.