Development of versatile non-homologous end joining-based knock-in module for genome editing.
ABSTRACT: CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing has dramatically accelerated genome engineering. An important aspect of genome engineering is efficient knock-in technology. For improved knock-in efficiency, the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair pathway has been used over the homology-dependent repair pathway, but there remains a need to reduce the complexity of the preparation of donor vectors. We developed the versatile NHEJ-based knock-in module for genome editing (VIKING). Using the consensus sequence of the time-honored pUC vector to cut donor vectors, any vector with a pUC backbone could be used as the donor vector without customization. Conditions required to minimize random integration rates of the donor vector were also investigated. We attempted to isolate null lines of the VDR gene in human HaCaT keratinocytes using knock-in/knock-out with a selection marker cassette, and found 75% of clones isolated were successfully knocked-in. Although HaCaT cells have hypotetraploid genome composition, the results suggest multiple clones have VDR null phenotypes. VIKING modules enabled highly efficient knock-in of any vectors harboring pUC vectors. Users now can insert various existing vectors into an arbitrary locus in the genome. VIKING will contribute to low-cost genome engineering.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Hemophilia A, a bleeding disorder resulting from F8 mutations, can only be cured by gene therapy. A promising strategy is CRISPR-Cas9-mediated precise insertion of F8 in hepatocytes at highly expressed gene loci, such as albumin (Alb). Unfortunately, the precise in vivo integration efficiency of a long insert is very low (~?0.1%). RESULTS:We report that the use of a double-cut donor leads to a 10- to 20-fold increase in liver editing efficiency, thereby completely reconstituting serum F8 activity in a mouse model of hemophilia A after hydrodynamic injection of Cas9-sgAlb and B domain-deleted (BDD) F8 donor plasmids. We find that the integration of a double-cut donor at the Alb locus in mouse liver is mainly through non-homologous end joining (NHEJ)-mediated knock-in. We then target BDDF8 to multiple sites on introns 11 and 13 and find that NHEJ-mediated insertion of BDDF8 restores hemostasis. Finally, using 3 AAV8 vectors to deliver genome editing components, including Cas9, sgRNA, and BDDF8 donor, we observe the same therapeutic effects. A follow-up of 100 mice over 1 year shows no adverse effects. CONCLUSIONS:These findings lay the foundation for curing hemophilia A by NHEJ knock-in of BDDF8 at Alb introns after AAV-mediated delivery of editing components.
Project description:Genome editing is crucial for genetic engineering of organisms for improved traits, particularly in microalgae due to the urgent necessity for the next generation biofuel production. The most advanced CRISPR/Cas9 system is simple, efficient and accurate in some organisms; however, it has proven extremely difficult in microalgae including the model alga Chlamydomonas. We solved this problem by delivering Cas9 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) comprising the Cas9 protein and sgRNAs to avoid cytotoxicity and off-targeting associated with vector-driven expression of Cas9. We obtained CRISPR/Cas9-induced mutations at three loci including MAA7, CpSRP43 and ChlM, and targeted mutagenic efficiency was improved up to 100 fold compared to the first report of transgenic Cas9-induced mutagenesis. Interestingly, we found that unrelated vectors used for the selection purpose were predominantly integrated at the Cas9 cut site, indicative of NHEJ-mediated knock-in events. As expected with Cas9 RNPs, no off-targeting was found in one of the mutagenic screens. In conclusion, we improved the knockout efficiency by using Cas9 RNPs, which opens great opportunities not only for biological research but also industrial applications in Chlamydomonas and other microalgae. Findings of the NHEJ-mediated knock-in events will allow applications of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in microalgae, including "safe harboring" techniques shown in other organisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) RNA-guided adaptive immune systems are found in prokaryotes to defend cells from foreign DNA. CRISPR Cas9 systems have been modified and employed as genome editing tools in wide ranging organisms. Here, we provide a detailed protocol to truncate genes in mammalian cells using CRISPR Cas9 editing. We describe custom donor vector construction using Gibson assembly with the commonly utilized pcDNA3 vector as the backbone. RESULTS:We describe a step-by-step method to truncate genes of interest in mammalian cell lines using custom-made donor vectors. Our method employs 2 guide RNAs, mutant Cas9D10A nickase (Cas9?=?CRISPR associated sequence 9), and a custom-made donor vector for homologous recombination to precisely truncate a gene of interest with a selectable neomycin resistance cassette (NPTII: Neomycin Phosphotransferase II). We provide a detailed protocol on how to design and construct a custom donor vector using Gibson assembly (and the commonly utilized pcDNA3 vector as the backbone) allowing researchers to obtain specific gene modifications of interest (gene truncation, gene deletion, epitope tagging or knock-in mutation). Selection of mutants in mammalian cell lines with G418 (Geneticin) combined with several screening methods: western blot analysis, polymerase chain reaction, and Sanger sequencing resulted in streamlined mutant isolation. Proof of principle experiments were done in several mammalian cell lines. CONCLUSIONS:Here we describe a detailed protocol to employ CRISPR Cas9 genome editing to truncate genes of interest using the commonly employed expression vector pcDNA3 as the backbone for the donor vector. Providing a detailed protocol for custom donor vector design and construction will enable researchers to develop unique genome editing tools. To date, detailed protocols for CRISPR Cas9 custom donor vector construction are limited (Lee et al. in Sci Rep 5:8572, 2015; Ma et al. in Sci Rep 4:4489, 2014). Custom donor vectors are commercially available, but can be expensive. Our goal is to share this protocol to aid researchers in performing genetic investigations that require custom donor vectors for specialized applications (specific gene truncations, knock-in mutations, and epitope tagging applications).
Project description:In this communication, we report the adaptation of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology in Ustilago trichophora prototrophic wild-type isolate obtained from its natural host Echinochloa crus-galli. The established CRISPR vector and method enable a rapid and marker-free introduction of Cas9-induced non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) dependent mutation at the targeted gene. Moreover, the method allows a specific modification of the chromosomal DNA sequence by Cas9-induced homologous recombination using short DNA repair templates. The results demonstrate the applicability of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology in U. trichophora for both gene knock-out by the NHEJ pathway and specific gene modification by templated genome editing, paving the way for rapid metabolic engineering of this Ustilago species for industrial applications.
Project description:Gene knock-in techniques have rapidly evolved in recent years, along with the development and maturation of genome editing technology using programmable nucleases. We recently reported a novel strategy for microhomology-mediated end-joining-dependent integration of donor DNA by using TALEN or CRISPR/Cas9 and optimized targeting vectors, named PITCh (Precise Integration into Target Chromosome) vectors. Here we describe TALEN and PITCh vector-mediated integration of long gene cassettes, including a single-chain Fv-Fc (scFv-Fc) gene, in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, with comparison of targeting and cloning efficiency among several donor design and culture conditions. We achieved 9.6-kb whole plasmid integration and 7.6-kb backbone-free integration into a defined genomic locus in CHO cells. Furthermore, we confirmed the reasonable productivity of recombinant scFv-Fc protein of the knock-in cells. Using our protocol, the knock-in cell clones could be obtained by a single transfection and a single limiting dilution using a 96-well plate, without constructing targeting vectors containing long homology arms. Thus, the study described herein provides a highly practical strategy for gene knock-in of large DNA in CHO cells, which accelerates high-throughput generation of cell lines stably producing any desired biopharmaceuticals, including huge antibody proteins.
Project description:The clustered regulatory interspersed short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein (Cas) system has been widely used for gene knock-out. Lentiviral vectors have been commonly used as a delivery method for this system, however, prolonged Cas9/sgRNA expression due to lentiviral integration can lead to accumulating off-target mutations. To solve this issue in engineering a gene knock-out cell line, this study established a novel system, which was composed of two lentiviral vectors. One lentiviral vector carried simultaneously sgRNAs and CRISPR/Cas9 expression cassettes targeting single or multiple gene(s); the other lentiviral vector carried Cre that could remove excess sgRNAs and Cas9 expression cassettes in the genome after gene targeting was achieved. To prove the principle, two candidate genes, extracellular matrix protein 1 (ECM1) and progranulin (PGRN), both highly expressed in MDA-MB-231 cells, were selected for testing the novel system. A dual knock-out of ECM1 and PGRN was successfully achieved in MDA-MB-231 cell line, with the sgRNAs and Cas9 expression cassettes being removed by Cre. This system should have great potential in applications for multiple genes knock-out in vitro.
Project description:Genetically modified pigs have important roles in agriculture and biomedicine. However, genome-specific knock-in techniques in pigs are still in their infancy and optimal strategies have not been extensively investigated. In this study, we performed electroporation to introduce a targeting donor vector (a non-linearized vector that did not contain a promoter or selectable marker) into Porcine Foetal Fibroblasts (PFFs) along with a CRISPR/Cas9 vector. After optimization, the efficiency of the EGFP site-specific knock-in could reach up to 29.6% at the pRosa26 locus in PFFs. Next, we used the EGFP reporter PFFs to address two key conditions in the process of achieving transgenic pigs, the limiting dilution method and the strategy to evaluate the safety and feasibility of the knock-in locus. This study demonstrates that we establish an efficient procedures for the exogenous gene knock-in technique and creates a platform to efficiently generate promoter-less and selectable marker-free transgenic PFFs through the CRISPR/Cas9 system. This study should contribute to the generation of promoter-less and selectable marker-free transgenic pigs and it may provide insights into sophisticated site-specific genome engineering techniques for additional species.
Project description:Targeted integration of transgenes can be achieved by strategies based on homologous recombination (HR), microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ) or non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). The more generally used HR is inefficient for achieving gene integration in animal embryos and tissues, because it occurs only during cell division, although MMEJ and NHEJ can elevate the efficiency in some systems. Here we devise a homology-mediated end joining (HMEJ)-based strategy, using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated cleavage of both transgene donor vector that contains guide RNA target sites and ?800 bp of homology arms, and the targeted genome. We found no significant improvement of the targeting efficiency by the HMEJ-based method in either mouse embryonic stem cells or the neuroblastoma cell line, N2a, compared to the HR-based method. However, the HMEJ-based method yielded a higher knock-in efficiency in HEK293T cells, primary astrocytes and neurons. More importantly, this approach achieved transgene integration in mouse and monkey embryos, as well as in hepatocytes and neurons in vivo, with an efficiency much greater than HR-, NHEJ- and MMEJ-based strategies. Thus, the HMEJ-based strategy may be useful for a variety of applications, including gene editing to generate animal models and for targeted gene therapies.
Project description:The emerging genome editing technology has enabled the creation of gene knock-in cells easily, efficiently, and rapidly, which has dramatically accelerated research in the field of mammalian functional genomics, including in humans. We recently developed a microhomology-mediated end-joining-based gene knock-in method, termed the PITCh system, and presented various examples of its application. Since the PITCh system only requires very short microhomologies (up to 40 bp) and single-guide RNA target sites on the donor vector, the targeting construct can be rapidly prepared compared with the conventional targeting vector for homologous recombination-based knock-in. Here, we established a streamlined pipeline to design and perform PITCh knock-in to further expand the availability of this method by creating web-based design software, PITCh designer ( http://www.mls.sci.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/smg/PITChdesigner/index.html ), as well as presenting an experimental example of versatile gene cassette knock-in. PITCh designer can automatically design not only the appropriate microhomologies but also the primers to construct locus-specific donor vectors for PITCh knock-in. By using our newly established pipeline, a reporter cell line for monitoring endogenous gene expression, and transgenesis (TG) or knock-in/knockout (KIKO) cell line can be produced systematically. Using these new variations of PITCh, an exogenous promoter-driven gene cassette expressing fluorescent protein gene and drug resistance gene can be integrated into a safe harbor or a specific gene locus to create transgenic reporter cells (PITCh-TG) or knockout cells with reporter knock-in (PITCh-KIKO), respectively.
Project description:Medaka (Oryzias latipes) is a popular animal model used in vertebrate genetic analysis. Recently, an efficient (~?30%) knock-in system via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) was established in zebrafish using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. If the same technique were applicable in medaka, it would greatly expand the usefulness of this model organism. The question of the applicability of CRISPR/Cas9 in medaka, however, has yet to be addressed.We report the highly efficient generation of knock-in transgenic medaka via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). Donor plasmid containing a heat-shock promoter and a reporter gene was co-injected with a short guide RNA (sgRNA) targeted for genome digestion, an sgRNA targeted for donor plasmid digestion, and Cas9 mRNA. Broad transgene expression in the expression domain of a target gene was observed in approximately 25% of injected embryos. By raising these animals, we established stable knock-in transgenic fish with several different constructs for five genetic loci, obtaining transgenic founders at efficiencies of >?50% for all five loci. Further, we show that the method is useful for obtaining mutant alleles. In the experiments where transgene integrations were targeted between the transcription start site and the initiation methionine, the resultant transgenic fish became mutant alleles.With its simplicity, design flexibility, and high efficiency, we propose that CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in via NHEJ will become a standard method for the generation of transgenic and mutant medaka.