Project description:Genome editing using programmable nucleases such as CRISPR/Cas9 or Cpf1 has emerged as powerful tools for gene knock-out or knock-in in various organisms. While most genetic diseases are caused by point mutations, these genome-editing approaches are inefficient in inducing single-nucleotide substitutions. Recently, Cas9-linked cytidine deaminases, named base editors (BEs), have been shown to convert cytidine to uridine efficiently, leading to targeted single-base pair substitutions in human cells and organisms. Here, we first report on the generation of Xenopus laevis mutants with targeted single-base pair substitutions using this RNA-guided programmable deaminase. Injection of base editor 3 (BE3) ribonucleoprotein targeting the tyrosinase (tyr) gene in early embryos can induce site-specific base conversions with the rates of up to 20.5%, resulting in oculocutaneous albinism phenotypes without off-target mutations. We further test this base-editing system by targeting the tp53 gene with the result that the expected single-base pair substitutions are observed at the target site. Collectively, these data establish that the programmable deaminases are efficient tools for creating targeted point mutations for human disease modeling in Xenopus.
Project description:RNA-guided nucleases of the CRISPR/Cas type can be repurposed as programmable nucleotide deaminases to mediate targeted nucleotide substitutions. Such base editors have enormous potential in genome editing, gene therapy and precision breeding. However, current editors suffer from limited specificity in that they edit different and/or multiple bases within a larger sequence window. Using cytidine deaminase base editors that elicit C-to-T mutations, we show here that high editing precision can be achieved by engineering the connection between the deaminase domain and the Cas domain of the editor. By systematically testing different linker sequences and removing non-essential sequences from the deaminase, we obtain high-precision base editors with narrow activity windows that can selectively edit a single cytidine at a specific position with high accuracy and efficiency. These base editors will enable the use of genome editing in applications where single-nucleotide changes are required and off-target editing of adjacent nucleotides is not tolerable.
Project description:One of the most prevalent forms of post-transcriptional RNA modification is the conversion of adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I), mediated by adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR) enzymes. The advent of the CRISPR/Cas systems inspires researchers to work actively in the engineering of programmable RNA-guided machines for basic research and biomedical applications. In this regard, CIRTS (CRISPR-Cas-Inspired RNA Targeting System), RESCUE (RNA Editing for Specific C to U Exchange), RESTORE (Recruiting Endogenous ADAR to Specific Transcripts for Oligonucleotide-mediated RNA Editing), and LEAPER (Leveraging Endogenous ADAR for Programmable Editing of RNA) are innovative RNA base-editing platforms that have recently been engineered to perform programmable base conversions on target RNAs mediated by ADAR enzymes in mammalian cells. Thus, these four currently characterized RNA-editing systems constitute novel molecular tools with compelling programmability, specificity, and efficiency that show us some creative ways to take advantage of the engineered deaminases for precise base editing. Moreover, the advanced engineering of these systems permits editing of full-length transcripts containing disease-causing point mutations without the loss of genomic information, providing an attractive alternative for in vivo research and in the therapeutic setting if the challenges encountered in off-target edits and delivery are appropriately addressed. Here, I present an analytical approach of the current status and rapid progress of the novel ADAR-mediated RNA-editing systems when highlighting the qualities of each new RNA-editing platform and how these RNA-targeting strategies could be used to recruit human ADARs on endogenous transcripts, not only for our understanding of RNA-modification-mediated regulation of gene expression but also for editing clinically relevant mutations in a programmable and straightforward manner.
Project description:Programmable nucleases, which include zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and RNA-guided engineered nucleases (RGENs) repurposed from the type II clustered, regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system are now widely used for genome editing in higher eukaryotic cells and whole organisms, revolutionising almost every discipline in biological research, medicine, and biotechnology. All of these nucleases, however, induce off-target mutations at sites homologous in sequence with on-target sites, limiting their utility in many applications including gene or cell therapy. In this review, we compare methods for detecting nuclease off-target mutations. We also review methods for profiling genome-wide off-target effects and discuss how to reduce or avoid off-target mutations.
Project description:The microbial CRISPR systems enable adaptive defense against mobile elements and also provide formidable tools for genome engineering. The Cas9 proteins are type II CRISPR-associated, RNA-guided DNA endonucleases that identify double-stranded DNA targets by sequence complementarity and protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) recognition. Here we report that the type II-C CRISPR-Cas9 from Neisseria meningitidis (Nme) is capable of programmable, RNA-guided, site-specific cleavage and recognition of single-stranded RNA targets and that this ribonuclease activity is independent of the PAM sequence. We define the mechanistic feature and specificity constraint for RNA cleavage by NmeCas9 and also show that nuclease null dNmeCas9 binds to RNA target complementary to CRISPR RNA. Finally, we demonstrate that NmeCas9-catalyzed RNA cleavage can be blocked by three families of type II-C anti-CRISPR proteins. These results fundamentally expand the targeting capacities of CRISPR-Cas9 and highlight the potential utility of NmeCas9 as a single platform to target both RNA and DNA.
Project description:The RNA-guided CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins Cas9 and Cas12a provide adaptive immunity against invading nucleic acids, and function as powerful tools for genome editing in a wide range of organisms. Here we reveal the underlying mechanisms of a third, fundamentally distinct RNA-guided genome-editing platform named CRISPR-CasX, which uses unique structures for programmable double-stranded DNA binding and cleavage. Biochemical and in vivo data demonstrate that CasX is active for Escherichia coli and human genome modification. Eight cryo-electron microscopy structures of CasX in different states of assembly with its guide RNA and double-stranded DNA substrates reveal an extensive RNA scaffold and a domain required for DNA unwinding. These data demonstrate how CasX activity arose through convergent evolution to establish an enzyme family that is functionally separate from both Cas9 and Cas12a.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases are widely used for genome editing but can induce unwanted off-target mutations. Existing strategies for reducing genome-wide off-target effects of the widely used Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (SpCas9) are imperfect, possessing only partial or unproven efficacies and other limitations that constrain their use. Here we describe SpCas9-HF1, a high-fidelity variant harbouring alterations designed to reduce non-specific DNA contacts. SpCas9-HF1 retains on-target activities comparable to wild-type SpCas9 with >85% of single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) tested in human cells. Notably, with sgRNAs targeted to standard non-repetitive sequences, SpCas9-HF1 rendered all or nearly all off-target events undetectable by genome-wide break capture and targeted sequencing methods. Even for atypical, repetitive target sites, the vast majority of off-target mutations induced by wild-type SpCas9 were not detected with SpCas9-HF1. With its exceptional precision, SpCas9-HF1 provides an alternative to wild-type SpCas9 for research and therapeutic applications. More broadly, our results suggest a general strategy for optimizing genome-wide specificities of other CRISPR-RNA-guided nucleases.
Project description:Genome editing using standard tools (ZFN, TALEN, and CRISPR/Cas9) rely on double strand breaks to edit the genome. A series of new CRISPR tools that convert cytidine to thymine (C to T) without the requirement for DNA double-strand breaks was developed recently and quickly applied in a variety of organisms. Here, we demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9-dependent base editor (BE3) converts C to T with a high frequency in the invertebrate Bombyx mori silkworm. Using BE3 as a knock-out tool, we inactivated exogenous and endogenous genes through base-editing-induced nonsense mutations with an efficiency of up to 66.2%. Furthermore, genome-scale analysis showed that 96.5% of B. mori genes have one or more targetable sites that can be edited by BE3 for inactivation, with a median of 11 sites per gene. The editing window of BE3 reached up to 13 bases (from C1 to C13 in the range of gRNA) in B. mori Notably, up to 14 bases were substituted simultaneously in a single DNA molecule, with a low indel frequency of 0.6%, when 32 gRNAs were co-transfected. Collectively, our data show for the first time that RNA-guided cytidine deaminases are capable of programmable single and multiplex base editing in an invertebrate model.
Project description:Base editors are RNA-programmable deaminases that enable precise single-base conversions in genomic DNA. However, off-target activity is a concern in the potential use of base editors to treat genetic diseases. Here, we report unbiased analyses of transcriptome-wide and genome-wide off-target modifications effected by cytidine base editors in the liver of mice with phenylketonuria. The intravenous delivery of intein-split cytidine base editors by dual adeno-associated viruses led to the repair of the disease-causing mutation without generating off-target mutations in the RNA and DNA of the hepatocytes. Moreover, the transient expression of a cytidine base editor mRNA and a relevant single-guide RNA intravenously delivered by lipid nanoparticles led to ~21% on-target editing and to the reversal of the disease phenotype; there were also no detectable transcriptome-wide and genome-wide off-target edits. Our findings support the feasibility of therapeutic cytidine base editing to treat genetic liver diseases.
Project description:Precise editing is essential for biomedical research and gene therapy. Yet, homology-directed genome modification is limited by the requirements for genomic lesions, homology donors and the endogenous DNA repair machinery. Here we engineered programmable cytidine deaminases and test if we could introduce site-specific cytidine to thymidine transitions in the absence of targeted genomic lesions. Our programmable deaminases effectively convert specific cytidines to thymidines with 13% efficiency in Escherichia coli and 2.5% in human cells. However, off-target deaminations were detected more than 150?bp away from the target site. Moreover, whole genome sequencing revealed that edited bacterial cells did not harbour chromosomal abnormalities but demonstrated elevated global cytidine deamination at deaminase intrinsic binding sites. Therefore programmable deaminases represent a promising genome editing tool in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Future engineering is required to overcome the processivity and the intrinsic DNA binding affinity of deaminases for safer therapeutic applications.