CRISPR–Cas9-mediated genome editing has been widely adopted for basic and applied biological research in eukaryotic systems. While many studies consider DNA sequences of CRISPR target sites as the primary determinant for CRISPR mutagenesis efficiency and mutation profiles, increasing evidence reveals the substantial role of chromatin context. Nonetheless, most prior studies are limited by the lack of sufficient epigenetic resources and/or by only transiently expressing CRISPR–Cas9 in a short time window. In this study, we leveraged the wealth of high-resolution epigenomic resources in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) to address the impact of chromatin features on CRISPR–Cas9 mutagenesis using stable transgenic plants. Our results indicated that DNA methylation and chromatin features could lead to substantial variations in mutagenesis efficiency by up to 250-fold. Low mutagenesis efficiencies were mostly associated with repressive heterochromatic features. This repressive effect appeared to persist through cell divisions but could be alleviated through substantial reduction of DNA methylation at CRISPR target sites. Moreover, specific chromatin features, such as H3K4me1, H3.3, and H3.1, appear to be associated with significant variation in CRISPR–Cas9 mutation profiles mediated by the non-homologous end joining repair pathway. Our findings provide strong evidence that specific chromatin features could have substantial and lasting impacts on bothmore »
DNA double-strand breaks require repair or risk corrupting the language of life. To ensure genome integrity and viability, multiple DNA double-strand break repair pathways function in eukaryotes. Two such repair pathways, canonical non-homologous end joining and homologous recombination, have been extensively studied, while other pathways such as microhomology-mediated end joint and single-strand annealing, once thought to serve as back-ups, now appear to play a fundamental role in DNA repair. Here, we review the molecular details and hierarchy of these four DNA repair pathways, and where possible, a comparison for what is known between animal and fungal models. We address the factors contributing to break repair pathway choice, and aim to explore our understanding and knowledge gaps regarding mechanisms and regulation in filamentous pathogens. We additionally discuss how DNA double-strand break repair pathways influence genome engineering results, including unexpected mutation outcomes. Finally, we review the concept of biased genome evolution in filamentous pathogens, and provide a model, termed Biased Variation, that links DNA double-strand break repair pathways with properties of genome evolution. Despite our extensive knowledge for this universal process, there remain many unanswered questions, for which the answers may improve genome engineering and our understanding of genome evolution.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- FEMS Microbiology Reviews
- Oxford University Press
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Pericentromeric heterochromatin is mostly composed of repetitive DNA sequences prone to aberrant recombination. Cells have developed highly specialized mechanisms to enable ‘safe’ homologous recombination (HR) repair while preventing aberrant recombination in this domain. Understanding heterochromatin repair responses is essential to understanding the critical mechanisms responsible for genome integrity and tumor suppression. Here, we review the tools, approaches, and methods currently available to investigate double-strand break (DSB) repair in pericentromeric regions, and also suggest how technologies recently developed for euchromatin repair studies can be adapted to characterize responses in heterochromatin. With this ever-growing toolkit, we are witnessing exciting progress in our understanding of how the ‘dark matter’ of the genome is repaired, greatly improving our understanding of genome stability mechanisms.
Double-strand breaks are one of the most deleterious DNA lesions. Their repair via error-prone mechanisms can promote mutagenesis, loss of genetic information, and deregulation of the genome. These detrimental outcomes are significant drivers of human diseases, including many cancers. Mutagenic double-strand break repair also facilitates heritable genetic changes that drive organismal adaptation and evolution. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of various error-prone DNA double-strand break repair processes and the cellular conditions that regulate them, with a focus on alternative end joining. We provide examples that illustrate how mutagenic double-strand break repair drives genome diversity and evolution. Finally, we discuss how error-prone break repair can be crucial to the induction and progression of diseases such as cancer.
Chemically Induced Chromosomal Interaction (CICI) method to study chromosome dynamics and its biological roles
Numerous intra- and inter-chromosomal contacts have been mapped in eukaryotic genomes, but it remains challenging to link these 3D structures to their regulatory functions. To establish the causal relationships between chromosome conformation and genome functions, we develop a method, Chemically Induced Chromosomal Interaction (CICI), to selectively perturb the chromosome conformation at targeted loci. Using this method, long-distance chromosomal interactions can be induced dynamically between intra- or inter-chromosomal loci pairs, including the ones with very low Hi-C contact frequencies. Measurement of CICI formation time allows us to probe chromosome encounter dynamics between different loci pairs across the cell cycle. We also conduct two functional tests of CICI. We perturb the chromosome conformation near a DNA double-strand break and observe altered donor preference in homologous recombination; we force interactions between early and late-firing DNA replication origins and find no significant changes in replication timing. These results suggest that chromosome conformation plays a deterministic role in homology-directed DNA repair, but not in the establishment of replication timing. Overall, our study demonstrates that CICI is a powerful tool to study chromosome dynamics and 3D genome function.
In this chapter, we describe a method for the recovery and analysis of alternative end-joining (alt-EJ) DNA double-strand break repair junctions following I-SceI cutting in Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Alt-EJ can be defined as a set of Ku70/80 and DNA ligase 4-independent end-joining processes that are typically mutagenic, producing deletions, insertions, and chromosomal rearrangements more frequently than higher-fidelity repair pathways such as classical nonhomologous end joining or homologous recombination. Alt-EJ has been observed to be upregulated in HR-deficient tumors and is essential for the survival and proliferation of these cells. Alt-EJ shares many initial processing steps with homologous recombination, specifically end resection; therefore, studying alt-EJ repair junctions can provide useful insight into aborted HR repair. Here, we describe the injection of plasmid constructs with specific cut sites into Drosophila embryos and the subsequent recovery of alt-EJ repair products. We also describe different analytical approaches using this system and how amplicon sequencing can be used to provide mechanistic information about alt-EJ.