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Title: Efficient expression of multiple guide RNAs for CRISPR/Cas genome editing
The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR-associated protein system (CRISPR/Cas) has recently become the most powerful tool available for genome engineering in various organisms. With efficient and proper expression of multiple guide RNAs (gRNAs), the CRISPR/Cas system is particularly suitable for multiplex genome editing. During the past several years, different CRISPR/Cas expression strategies, such as two-component transcriptional unit, single transcriptional unit, and bidirectional promoter systems, have been developed to efficiently express gRNAs as well as Cas nucleases. Significant progress has been made to optimize gRNA production using different types of promoters and RNA processing strategies such as ribozymes, endogenous RNases, and exogenous endoribonuclease (Csy4). Besides being constitutively and ubiquitously expressed, inducible and spa- tiotemporal regulations of gRNA expression have been demonstrated using inducible, tissue-specific, and/or synthetic promoters for specific research purposes. Most recently, the emergence of CRISPR/Cas ribonucleoprotein delivery methods, such as engineered nanoparticles, further revolutionized trans- gene-free and multiplex genome editing. In this review, we discuss current strategies and future per- spectives for efficient expression and engineering of gRNAs with a goal to facilitate CRISPR/Cas-based multiplex genome editing.  more » « less
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Summary

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  2. null (Ed.)
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  3. Abstract

    CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing is effective in manipulating genetic loci in mammalian cell cultures and whole fish but efficient platforms applicable to fish cell lines are currently limited. Our initial attempts to employ this technology in fish cell lines using heterologous promoters or a ribonucleoprotein approach failed to indicate genomic alteration at targeted sites in a tilapia brain cell line (OmB). For potential use in a DNA vector approach, endogenous tilapia beta Actin (OmBAct), EF1 alpha (OmEF1a), and U6 (TU6) promoters were isolated. The strongest candidate promoter determined by EGFP reporter assay, OmEF1a, was used to drive constitutive Cas9 expression in a modified OmB cell line (Cas9-OmB1). Cas9-OmB1 cell transfection with vectors expressing gRNAs driven by the TU6 promoter achieved mutational efficiencies as high as 81% following hygromycin selection. Mutations were not detected using human and zebrafish U6 promoters demonstrating the phylogenetic proximity of U6 promoters as critical when used for gRNA expression. Sequence alteration to TU6 improved mutation rate and cloning efficiency. In conclusion, we report new tools for ectopic expression and a highly efficient, economical system for manipulation of genomic loci and evaluation of their causal relationship with adaptive cellular phenotypes by CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in fish cells.

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