skip to main content

Title: Reversible RNA acylation for control of CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing
We report the development of post-transcriptional chemical methods that enable control over CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing activity both in in vitro assays and in living cells. We show that an azide-substituted acyl imidazole reagent (NAI-N 3 ) efficiently acylates CRISPR single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) in 20 minutes in buffer. Poly-acylated (“cloaked”) sgRNA was completely inactive in DNA cleavage with Cas9 in vitro , and activity was quantitatively restored after phosphine treatment. Delivery of cloaked sgRNA and Cas9 mRNA into HeLa cells was enabled by the use of charge-altering releasable transporters (CARTs), which outperformed commercial transfection reagents in transfecting sgRNA co-complexed with Cas9 encoding functional mRNA. Genomic DNA cleavage in the cells by CRISPR–Cas9 was efficiently restored after treatment with phosphine to remove the blocking acyl groups. Our results highlight the utility of reversible RNA acylation as a novel method for temporal control of genome-editing function.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1856414
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10274591
Journal Name:
Chemical Science
Volume:
11
Issue:
4
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1011 to 1016
ISSN:
2041-6520
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. CRISPR-Cas systems provide versatile tools for programmable genome editing. Here, we developed a caged RNA strategy that allows Cas9 to bind DNA but not cleave until light-induced activation. This approach, referred to as very fast CRISPR (vfCRISPR), creates double-strand breaks (DSBs) at the submicrometer and second scales. Synchronized cleavage improved kinetic analysis of DNA repair, revealing that cells respond to Cas9-induced DSBs within minutes and can retain MRE11 after DNA ligation. Phosphorylation of H2AX after DNA damage propagated more than 100 kilobases per minute, reaching up to 30 megabases. Using single-cell fluorescence imaging, we characterized multiple cycles of 53BP1 repair foci formation and dissolution, with the first cycle taking longer than subsequent cycles and its duration modulated by inhibition of repair. Imaging-guided subcellular Cas9 activation further facilitated genomic manipulation with single-allele resolution. vfCRISPR enables DNA-repair studies at high resolution in space, time, and genomic coordinates.
  2. Abstract

    CRISPR-Cas12a is an RNA-guided, programmable genome editing enzyme found within bacterial adaptive immune pathways. Unlike CRISPR-Cas9, Cas12a uses only a single catalytic site to both cleave target double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) (cis-activity) and indiscriminately degrade single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) (trans-activity). To investigate how the relative potency of cis- versus trans-DNase activity affects Cas12a-mediated genome editing, we first used structure-guided engineering to generate variants of Lachnospiraceae bacterium Cas12a that selectively disrupt trans-activity. The resulting engineered mutant with the biggest differential between cis- and trans-DNase activity in vitro showed minimal genome editing activity in human cells, motivating a second set of experiments using directed evolution to generate additional mutants with robust genome editing activity. Notably, these engineered and evolved mutants had enhanced ability to induce homology-directed repair (HDR) editing by 2–18-fold compared to wild-type Cas12a when using HDR donors containing mismatches with crRNA at the PAM-distal region. Finally, a site-specific reversion mutation produced improved Cas12a (iCas12a) variants with superior genome editing efficiency at genomic sites that are difficult to edit using wild-type Cas12a. This strategy establishes a pipeline for creating improved genome editing tools by combining structural insights with randomization and selection. The available structures of other CRISPR-Cas enzymes will enable this strategymore »to be applied to improve the efficacy of other genome-editing proteins.

    « less
  3. IscB proteins are putative nucleases encoded in a distinct family of IS200/IS605 transposons and are likely ancestors of the RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9, but the functions of IscB and its interactions with any RNA remain uncharacterized. Using evolutionary analysis, RNA sequencing, and biochemical experiments, we reconstructed the evolution of CRISPR-Cas9 systems from IS200/IS605 transposons. We found that IscB uses a single noncoding RNA for RNA-guided cleavage of double-stranded DNA and can be harnessed for genome editing in human cells. We also demonstrate the RNA-guided nuclease activity of TnpB, another IS200/IS605 transposon-encoded protein and the likely ancestor of Cas12 endonucleases. This work reveals a widespread class of transposon-encoded RNA-guided nucleases, which we name OMEGA (obligate mobile element–guided activity), with strong potential for developing as biotechnologies.
  4. Abstract Gene editing is a powerful tool for genome and cell engineering. Exemplified by CRISPR–Cas, gene editing could cause DNA damage and trigger DNA repair processes that are often error-prone. Such unwanted mutations and safety concerns can be exacerbated when altering long sequences. Here we couple microbial single-strand annealing proteins (SSAPs) with catalytically inactive dCas9 for gene editing. This cleavage-free gene editor, dCas9–SSAP, promotes the knock-in of long sequences in mammalian cells. The dCas9–SSAP editor has low on-target errors and minimal off-target effects, showing higher accuracy than canonical Cas9 methods. It is effective for inserting kilobase-scale sequences, with an efficiency of up to approximately 20% and robust performance across donor designs and cell types, including human stem cells. We show that dCas9–SSAP is less sensitive to inhibition of DNA repair enzymes than Cas9 references. We further performed truncation and aptamer engineering to minimize its size to fit into a single adeno-associated-virus vector for future application. Together, this tool opens opportunities towards safer long-sequence genome engineering.
  5. Canonical CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technique has profoundly impacted the fields of plant biology, biotechnology, and crop improvement. Since non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) is usually considered to generate random indels, its high efficiency mutation is generally not pertinent to precise editing. Homology-directed repair (HDR) can mediate precise editing with supplied donor DNA, but it suffers from extreme low efficiency in higher plants. Therefore, precision editing in plants will be facilitated by the ability to predict NHEJ repair outcome and to improve HDR efficiency. Here, we report that NHEJ-mediated single nucleotide insertion at different rice genes is predictable based on DNA sequences at the target loci. Three mutation prediction tools (inDelphi, FORECasT, and SPROUT) have been validated in the rice plant system. We also evaluated the chimeric guide RNA (cgRNA) and Cas9-Retron precISe Parallel Editing via homologY (CRISPEY) strategies to facilitate donor template supply for improving HDR efficiency in Nicotiana benthamiana and rice. However, neither cgRNA nor CRISPEY improved plant HDR editing efficiency in this study. Interestingly, our data indicate that tethering of 200–250 nucleotides long sequence to either 5′ or 3′ ends of guide RNA did not significantly affect Cas9 cleavage activity.