Project description:Current genome-editing systems generally rely on inducing DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). This may limit their utility in clinical therapies, as unwanted mutations caused by DSBs can have deleterious effects. CRISPR/Cas9 system has recently been repurposed to enable target gene activation, allowing regulation of endogenous gene expression without creating DSBs. However, in vivo implementation of this gain-of-function system has proven difficult. Here, we report a robust system for in vivo activation of endogenous target genes through trans-epigenetic remodeling. The system relies on recruitment of Cas9 and transcriptional activation complexes to target loci by modified single guide RNAs. As proof-of-concept, we used this technology to treat mouse models of diabetes, muscular dystrophy, and acute kidney disease. Results demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9-mediated target gene activation can be achieved in vivo, leading to measurable phenotypes and amelioration of disease symptoms. This establishes new avenues for developing targeted epigenetic therapies against human diseases. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Project description:The CRISPR-Cas9 system, naturally a defense mechanism in prokaryotes, has been repurposed as an RNA-guided DNA targeting platform. It has been widely used for genome editing and transcriptome modulation, and has shown great promise in correcting mutations in human genetic diseases. Off-target effects are a critical issue for all of these applications. Here we review the current status on the target specificity of the CRISPR-Cas9 system.
Project description:The bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 system has been repurposed for genome engineering, transcription modulation, and chromosome imaging in eukaryotic cells. However, the nuclear dynamics of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated protein 9 (Cas9) guide RNAs and target interrogation are not well defined in living cells. Here, we deployed a dual-color CRISPR system to directly measure the stability of both Cas9 and guide RNA. We found that Cas9 is essential for guide RNA stability and that the nuclear Cas9-guide RNA complex levels limit the targeting efficiency. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching measurements revealed that single mismatches in the guide RNA seed sequence reduce the target residence time from >3 h to as low as <2 min in a nucleotide identity- and position-dependent manner. We further show that the duration of target residence correlates with cleavage activity. These results reveal that CRISPR discriminates between genuine versus mismatched targets for genome editing via radical alterations in residence time.
Project description:The limited target specificity of CRISPR-Cas nucleases poses a challenge with respect to their application in research and therapy. Here, we present a simple and original strategy to enhance the specificity of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing by coupling Cas9 to artificial inhibitory domains. Applying a combination of mathematical modeling and experiments, we first determined how CRISPR-Cas9 activity profiles relate to Cas9 specificity. We then used artificially weakened anti-CRISPR (Acr) proteins either coexpressed with or directly fused to Cas9 to fine-tune its activity toward selected levels, thereby achieving an effective kinetic insulation of ON- and OFF-target editing events. We demonstrate highly specific genome editing in mammalian cells using diverse single-guide RNAs prone to potent OFF-targeting. Last, we show that our strategy is compatible with different modes of delivery, including transient transfection and adeno-associated viral vectors. Together, we provide a highly versatile approach to reduce CRISPR-Cas OFF-target effects via kinetic insulation.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9-based genome editing enables the rapid genetic manipulation of any genomic locus without the need for gene targeting by homologous recombination. Here we describe a conditional transgenic approach that allows temporal control of CRISPR-Cas9 activity for inducible genome editing in adult mice. We show that doxycycline-regulated Cas9 induction enables widespread gene disruption in multiple tissues and that limiting the duration of Cas9 expression or using a Cas9(D10A) (Cas9n) variant can regulate the frequency and size of target gene modifications, respectively. Further, we show that this inducible CRISPR (iCRISPR) system can be used effectively to create biallelic mutation in multiple target loci and, thus, provides a flexible and fast platform to study loss-of-function phenotypes in vivo.
Project description:Genome editing with CRISPR-Cas nucleases has been applied successfully to a wide range of cells and organisms. There is, however, considerable variation in the efficiency of cleavage and outcomes at different genomic targets, even within the same cell type. Some of this variability is likely due to the inherent quality of the interaction between the guide RNA and the target sequence, but some may also reflect the relative accessibility of the target. We investigated the influence of chromatin structure, particularly the presence or absence of nucleosomes, on cleavage by the Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 protein. At multiple target sequences in two promoters in the yeast genome, we find that Cas9 cleavage is strongly inhibited when the DNA target is within a nucleosome. This inhibition is relieved when nucleosomes are depleted. Remarkably, the same is not true of zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), which cleave equally well at nucleosome-occupied and nucleosome-depleted sites. These results have implications for the choice of specific targets for genome editing, both in research and in clinical and other practical applications.
Project description:NEW FINDINGS:What is the topic of this review? In this review, we analyse the performance of recently described tools for CRISPR/Cas9 guide RNA design, in particular, design tools that predict CRISPR/Cas9 activity. What advances does it highlight? Recently, many tools designed to predict CRISPR/Cas9 activity have been reported. However, the majority of these tools lack experimental validation. Our analyses indicate that these tools have poor predictive power. Our preliminary results suggest that target site accessibility should be considered in order to develop better guide RNA design tools with improved predictive power. The recent adaptation of the clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system for targeted genome engineering has led to its widespread application in many fields worldwide. In order to gain a better understanding of the design rules of CRISPR/Cas9 systems, several groups have carried out large library-based screens leading to some insight into sequence preferences among highly active target sites. To facilitate CRISPR/Cas9 design, these studies have spawned a plethora of guide RNA (gRNA) design tools with algorithms based solely on direct or indirect sequence features. Here, we demonstrate that the predictive power of these tools is poor, suggesting that sequence features alone cannot accurately inform the cutting efficiency of a particular CRISPR/Cas9 gRNA design. Furthermore, we demonstrate that DNA target site accessibility influences the activity of CRISPR/Cas9. With further optimization, we hypothesize that it will be possible to increase the predictive power of gRNA design tools by including both sequence and target site accessibility metrics.
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9 system confers molecular immunity in archeal and bacterial species against invading foreign nucleic acids. CRISPR/Cas9 system is used for genome engineering applications across diverse eukaryotic species. In this study, we demonstrate the utility of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering system for drug target validation in human cells. Pladienolide B is a natural macrolide with antitumor activities mediated through the inhibition of pre-mRNA splicing. To validate the spliceosomal target of Pladienolide B, we employed the CRSIPR/Cas9 system to introduce targeted mutations in the subunits of the SF3B complex in the HEK293T cells. Our data reveal that targeted mutagenesis of the SF3b1 subunit exhibited higher levels of resistance to Pladienolide B. Therefore, our data validate the spliceosomal target of Pladienolide B and provide a proof of concept on using the CRISPR/Cas9 system for drug target identification and validation.
Project description:Identifying putative transcription factor target genes by combining CRISPR/Cas9-based transcriptional activation with RNAseq in Drosophila S2R+ cells. This study focuses on the transcription factors Twist and Snail, singly and together. RNA from Drosophila cells following CRISPR/Cas9-based activation of Twist, Snail, or Twist and Snail together, compared with non-targeting sgRNA. Two biological replicates for each experiment
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9 is a versatile genome-editing technology that is widely used for studying the functionality of genetic elements, creating genetically modified organisms as well as preclinical research of genetic disorders. However, the high frequency of off-target activity (≥50%)-RGEN (RNA-guided endonuclease)-induced mutations at sites other than the intended on-target site-is one major concern, especially for therapeutic and clinical applications. Here, we review the basic mechanisms underlying off-target cutting in the CRISPR/Cas9 system, methods for detecting off-target mutations, and strategies for minimizing off-target cleavage. The improvement off-target specificity in the CRISPR/Cas9 system will provide solid genotype-phenotype correlations, and thus enable faithful interpretation of genome-editing data, which will certainly facilitate the basic and clinical application of this technology.