CRISPR-Cas9(D10A) nickase-based genotypic and phenotypic screening to enhance genome editing.
Chiang TW, le Sage C, Larrieu D, Demir M, Jackson SP. CRISPR-Cas9(D10A) nickase-based genotypic and phenotypic screening to enhance genome editing. Scientific Reports 6, 24356.
The RNA-guided Cas9 nuclease is being widely employed to engineer the genomes of various cells and organisms. Despite the efficient mutagenesis induced by Cas9, off-target effects have raised concerns over the system’s specificity. Recently a “double-nicking” strategy using catalytic mutant Cas9D10A nickase has been developed to minimise off-target effects. Here, we describe a Cas9D10A-based screening approach that combines an All-in-One Cas9D10A nickase vector with fluorescence-activated cell sorting enrichment followed by high-throughput genotypic and phenotypic clonal screening strategies to generate isogenic knockouts and knock-ins highly efficiently, with minimal off-target effects. We validated this approach by targeting genes for the DNA-damage response (DDR) proteins MDC1, 53BP1, RIF1 and P53, plus the nuclear architecture proteins Lamin A/C, in three different human cell lines. We also efficiently obtained biallelic knock-in clones, using single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides as homologous templates, for insertion of an EcoRI recognition site at the RIF1 locus and introduction of a point mutation at the histone H2AFX locus to abolish assembly of DDR factors at sites of DNA double-strand breaks. This versatile screening approach should facilitate research aimed at defining gene functions, modelling of cancers and other diseases underpinned by genetic factors, and exploring new therapeutic opportunities.