Here we present an approach that combines a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) system that simultaneously targets hundreds of epigenetically diverse endogenous genomic sites with high-throughput sequencing to measure Cas9 dynamics and cellular responses at scale. This massive multiplexing of CRISPR is enabled by means of multi-target guide RNAs (mgRNAs), degenerate guide RNAs that direct Cas9 to a pre-determined number of well-mapped sites. mgRNAs uncovered generalizable insights into Cas9 binding and cleavage, revealing rapid post-cleavage Cas9 departure and repair factor loading at protospacer adjacent motif-proximal genomic DNA. Moreover, by bypassing confounding effects from guide RNA sequence, mgRNAs unveiled that Cas9 binding is enhanced at chromatin-accessible regions, and cleavage by bound Cas9 is more efficient near transcribed regions. Combined with light-mediated activation and deactivation of Cas9 activity, mgRNAs further enabled high-throughput study of the cellular response to double-strand breaks with high temporal resolution, revealing the presence, extent (under 2 kb) and kinetics (~1 h) of reversible DNA damage-induced chromatin decompaction. Altogether, this work establishes mgRNAs as a generalizable platform for multiplexing CRISPR and advances our understanding of intracellular Cas9 activity and the DNA damage response at endogenous loci.
DNA double-strand breaks pose a direct threat to genomic stability. Studies of DNA damage and chromatin dynamics have yielded opposing results that support either increased or decreased chromatin motion after damage. In this study, we independently measure the dynamics of transcriptionally active or repressed chromatin regions using particle tracking microrheology. We find that the baseline motion of transcriptionally repressed regions of chromatin are significantly less mobile than transcriptionally active chromatin, which is statistically similar to the bulk motion of chromatin within the nucleus. Site specific DNA damage using KillerRed tags induced in loci within repressed chromatin causes an increased motion, while loci within transcriptionally active regions remains unchanged at similar time scales. We also observe a time-dependent response associated with a further increase in chromatin decondensation. Global induction of damage with bleocin displays similar trends of chromatin decondensation and increased mobility only at 53BP1-labeled damage sites but not at non-damaged sites, indicating that chromatin dynamics are tightly regulated locally after damage. These results shed light on the evolution of the local and global DNA damage response associated with chromatin remodeling and dynamics, with direct implications for their role in repair.
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- Scientific Reports
- Nature Publishing Group
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- National Science Foundation
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Massively parallel genomic perturbations with multi-target CRISPR interrogates Cas9 activity and DNA repair at endogenous sites
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