Genome-wide CRISPR Screens in Primary Human T Cells Reveal Key Regulators of Immune Function.
ABSTRACT: Human T cells are central effectors of immunity and cancer immunotherapy. CRISPR-based functional studies in T cells could prioritize novel targets for drug development and improve the design of genetically reprogrammed cell-based therapies. However, large-scale CRISPR screens have been challenging in primary human cells. We developed a new method, single guide RNA (sgRNA) lentiviral infection with Cas9 protein electroporation (SLICE), to identify regulators of stimulation responses in primary human T cells. Genome-wide loss-of-function screens identified essential T cell receptor signaling components and genes that negatively tune proliferation following stimulation. Targeted ablation of individual candidate genes characterized hits and identified perturbations that enhanced cancer cell killing. SLICE coupled with single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed signature stimulation-response gene programs altered by key genetic perturbations. SLICE genome-wide screening was also adaptable to identify mediators of immunosuppression, revealing genes controlling responses to adenosine signaling. The SLICE platform enables unbiased discovery and characterization of functional gene targets in primary cells.
Project description:Several groups recently coupled CRISPR perturbations and single-cell RNA-seq for pooled genetic screens. We demonstrate that vector designs of these studies are susceptible to ?50% swapping of guide RNA-barcode associations because of lentiviral template switching. We optimized a published alternative, CROP-seq, in which the guide RNA also serves as the barcode, and here confirm that this strategy performs robustly and doubled the rate at which guides are assigned to cells to 94%.
Project description:Genetic screens help infer gene function in mammalian cells, but it has remained difficult to assay complex phenotypes-such as transcriptional profiles-at scale. Here, we develop Perturb-seq, combining single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-based perturbations to perform many such assays in a pool. We demonstrate Perturb-seq by analyzing 200,000 cells in immune cells and cell lines, focusing on transcription factors regulating the response of dendritic cells to lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Perturb-seq accurately identifies individual gene targets, gene signatures, and cell states affected by individual perturbations and their genetic interactions. We posit new functions for regulators of differentiation, the anti-viral response, and mitochondrial function during immune activation. By decomposing many high content measurements into the effects of perturbations, their interactions, and diverse cell metadata, Perturb-seq dramatically increases the scope of pooled genomic assays.
Project description:Arrayed CRISPR-based screens emerge as a powerful alternative to pooled screens making it possible to investigate a wide range of cellular phenotypes that are typically not amenable to pooled screens. Here, we describe a solid-phase transfection platform that enables CRISPR-based genetic screens in arrayed format with flexible readouts. We demonstrate efficient gene knockout upon delivery of guide RNAs and Cas9/guide RNA ribonucleoprotein complexes into untransformed and cancer cell lines. In addition, we provide evidence that our platform can be easily adapted to high throughput screens and we use this approach to study oncogene addiction in tumor cells. Finally demonstrating that the human primary cells can also be edited using this method, we pave the way for rapid testing of potential targeted therapies.
Project description:Arrayed CRISPR-based screens emerge as a powerful alternative to pooled screens making it possible to investigate a wide range of cellular phenotypes that are typically not amenable to pooled screens. Here, we describe a solid-phase transfection platform that enables CRISPR-based genetic screens in arrayed format with flexible readouts. We demonstrate efficient gene knockout upon delivery of guide RNAs and Cas9/guide RNA ribonucleoprotein complexes into untransformed and cancer cell lines. In addition, we provide evidence that our platform can be easily adapted to high-throughput screens and we use this approach to study oncogene addiction in tumor cells. Finally demonstrating that the human primary cells can also be edited using this method, we pave the way for rapid testing of potential targeted therapies.
Project description:We adapted sgRNA lentiviral infection and Cas9 electroporation (SLICE) to allow for CROP-Seq (Datlinger et al, Nat Med 2017) in primary cells. We used a library of 48 sgRNA, derived from GW screens, to explore transcriptional changes downstream of CRISPR-KO. Overall design: Pooled CRISPR screen with single cell RNASeq readout (Perturb-Seq / CROP-Seq) in primary human T cells. Dataset includes CD8 T cells from two donors, for two conditions: with TCR stimulation or No stimulation.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering has revolutionised high-throughput functional genomic screens. However, recent work has raised concerns regarding the performance of CRISPR-Cas9 screens using TP53 wild-type human cells due to a p53-mediated DNA damage response (DDR) limiting the efficiency of generating viable edited cells. To directly assess the impact of cellular p53 status on CRISPR-Cas9 screen performance, we carried out parallel CRISPR-Cas9 screens in wild-type and TP53 knockout human retinal pigment epithelial cells using a focused dual guide RNA library targeting 852 DDR-associated genes. Our work demonstrates that although functional p53 status negatively affects identification of significantly depleted genes, optimal screen design can nevertheless enable robust screen performance. Through analysis of our own and published screen data, we highlight key factors for successful screens in both wild-type and p53-deficient cells.
Project description:Single-cell CRISPR screens enable the exploration of mammalian gene function and genetic regulatory networks. However, use of this technology has been limited by reliance on indirect indexing of single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs). Here we present direct-capture Perturb-seq, a versatile screening approach in which expressed sgRNAs are sequenced alongside single-cell transcriptomes. Direct-capture Perturb-seq enables detection of multiple distinct sgRNA sequences from individual cells and thus allows pooled single-cell CRISPR screens to be easily paired with combinatorial perturbation libraries that contain dual-guide expression vectors. We demonstrate the utility of this approach for high-throughput investigations of genetic interactions and, leveraging this ability, dissect epistatic interactions between cholesterol biogenesis and DNA repair. Using direct capture Perturb-seq, we also show that targeting individual genes with multiple sgRNAs per cell improves efficacy of CRISPR interference and activation, facilitating the use of compact, highly active CRISPR libraries for single-cell screens. Last, we show that hybridization-based target enrichment permits sensitive, specific sequencing of informative transcripts from single-cell RNA-seq experiments.
Project description:Genetic screens using pooled CRISPR-based approaches are scalable and inexpensive, but restricted to standard readouts, including survival, proliferation and sortable markers. However, many biologically relevant cell states involve cellular and subcellular changes that are only accessible by microscopic visualization, and are currently impossible to screen with pooled methods. Here we combine pooled CRISPR-Cas9 screening with microraft array technology and high-content imaging to screen image-based phenotypes (CRaft-ID; CRISPR-based microRaft followed by guide RNA identification). By isolating microrafts that contain genetic clones harboring individual guide RNAs (gRNA), we identify RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that influence the formation of stress granules, the punctate protein-RNA assemblies that form during stress. To automate hit identification, we developed a machine-learning model trained on nuclear morphology to remove unhealthy cells or imaging artifacts. In doing so, we identified and validated previously uncharacterized RBPs that modulate stress granule abundance, highlighting the applicability of our approach to facilitate image-based pooled CRISPR screens.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chemogenetic profiling enables the identification of gene mutations that enhance or suppress the activity of chemical compounds. This knowledge provides insights into drug mechanism of action, genetic vulnerabilities, and resistance mechanisms, all of which may help stratify patient populations and improve drug efficacy. CRISPR-based screening enables sensitive detection of drug-gene interactions directly in human cells, but until recently has primarily been used to screen only for resistance mechanisms. RESULTS:We present drugZ, an algorithm for identifying both synergistic and suppressor chemogenetic interactions from CRISPR screens. DrugZ identifies synthetic lethal interactions between PARP inhibitors and both known and novel members of the DNA damage repair pathway, confirms KEAP1 loss as a resistance factor for ERK inhibitors in oncogenic KRAS backgrounds, and defines the genetic context for temozolomide activity. CONCLUSIONS:DrugZ is an open-source Python software for the analysis of genome-scale drug modifier screens. The software accurately identifies genetic perturbations that enhance or suppress drug activity. Interestingly, analysis of new and previously published data reveals tumor suppressor genes are drug-agnostic resistance genes in drug modifier screens. The software is available at github.com/hart-lab/drugz .
Project description:Hexanucleotide-repeat expansions in the C9ORF72 gene are the most common cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (c9ALS/FTD). The nucleotide-repeat expansions are translated into dipeptide-repeat (DPR) proteins, which are aggregation prone and may contribute to neurodegeneration. We used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to perform genome-wide gene-knockout screens for suppressors and enhancers of C9ORF72 DPR toxicity in human cells. We validated hits by performing secondary CRISPR-Cas9 screens in primary mouse neurons. We uncovered potent modifiers of DPR toxicity whose gene products function in nucleocytoplasmic transport, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), proteasome, RNA-processing pathways, and chromatin modification. One modifier, TMX2, modulated the ER-stress signature elicited by C9ORF72 DPRs in neurons and improved survival of human induced motor neurons from patients with C9ORF72 ALS. Together, our results demonstrate the promise of CRISPR-Cas9 screens in defining mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases.