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We used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to knock-in reporter transgenes at the kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) locus and isolated human proximal tubule cell (HK-2) clones. PCR verified targeted knock-in of the luciferase and eGFP reporter at the KIM-1 locus. HK-2-KIM-1 reporter cells responded to various stimuli including hypoxia, cisplatin, and high glucose, indicative of upregulation of KIM-1 expression. We attempted using CRISPR/Cas9 to also engineer the KIM-1 reporter in telomerase-immortalized human RPTEC cells. However, these cells demonstrated an inability to undergo homologous recombination at the target locus. KIM-1-reporter human proximal tubular cells could be valuable tools in drug discovery for molecules inhibiting kidney injury. Additionally, our gene targeting strategy could be used in other cell lines to evaluate the biology of KIM-1 in vitro or in vivo.
Estrogen receptor-α positive (ERα+) breast cancer accounts for approximately 70-80% of the nearly 25,0000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the US each year. Endocrine-targeted therapies (those that block ERα activity) serve as the first line of treatment in most cases. Despite the proven benefit of endocrine therapies, however, ERα+ breast tumors can develop resistance to endocrine therapy, causing disease progression or relapse, particularly in the metastatic setting. Anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins enhance breast tumor cell survival, often promoting resistance to targeted therapies, including endocrine therapies. Herein, we investigated whether blockade of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins could sensitize luminal breast cancers to anti-estrogen treatment. We used long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) of human ERα+ breast cancer cell lines, an established model of sustained treatment with and acquired resistance to aromatase inhibitors (AIs), in combination with Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibition (ABT-263), finding that ABT-263 induced only limited tumor cell killing in LTED-selected cells in culture and in vivo. Interestingly, expression and activity of the Bcl-2-related factor Mcl-1 was increased in LTED cells. Genetic Mcl-1 ablation induced apoptosis in LTED-selected cells, and potently increased their sensitivity to ABT-263. Increased expression and activity of Mcl-1 was similarly seen in clinical breast tumor specimens treated with AI + the selective estrogen receptor downregulator fulvestrant. Delivery of Mcl-1 siRNA loaded into polymeric nanoparticles (MCL1 si-NPs) decreased Mcl-1 expression in LTED-selected and fulvestrant-treated cells, increasing tumor cell death and blocking tumor cell growth. These findings suggest that Mcl-1 upregulation in response to anti-estrogen treatment enhances tumor cell survival, decreasing response to therapeutic treatments. Therefore, strategies blocking Mcl-1 expression or activity used in combination with endocrine therapies would enhance tumor cell death.
Integrating DNA delivery systems hold promise for many applications including treatment of diseases; however, targeted integration is needed for improved safety. The piggyBac (PB) transposon system is a highly active non-viral gene delivery system capable of integrating defined DNA segments into host chromosomes without requiring homologous recombination. We systematically compared four different engineered zinc finger proteins (ZFP), four transcription activator-like effector proteins (TALE), CRISPR associated protein 9 (SpCas9) and the catalytically inactive dSpCas9 protein fused to the amino-terminus of the transposase enzyme designed to target the hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) gene located on human chromosome X. Chimeric transposases were evaluated for expression, transposition activity, chromatin immunoprecipitation at the target loci, and targeted knockout of the HPRT gene in human cells. One ZFP-PB and one TALE-PB chimera demonstrated notable HPRT gene targeting. In contrast, Cas9/dCas9-PB chimeras did not result in gene targeting. Instead, the HPRT locus appeared to be protected from transposon integration. Supplied separately, PB permitted highly efficient isolation of Cas9-mediated knockout of HPRT, with zero transposon integrations in HPRT by deep sequencing. In summary, these tools may allow isolation of 'targeted-only' cells, be utilized to protect a genomic locus from transposon integration, and enrich for Cas9-mutated cells.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research 2017.
Several strategies have been developed to generate targeted gene disruptions in zebrafish.Here we developed a simple targeted gene inactivation strategy in zebrafish using a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein (Cas) system. By injecting two simple in vitro-synthesized components [Cas9 mRNA and single guide (sgRNA)] into one-cell-stage embryos, mutations of the target gene could be efficiently generated. We used a codon-optimized version of Cas9 to improve its translation efficiency in zebrafish. In addition, we designed a cloning-free strategy to facilitate the synthesis of sgRNA. The system allows biallelic inactivation of multiple genes simultaneously by co-injecting a mix of sgRNAs with a single Cas9 construct. This flexible strategy of gene inactivation provides an efficient way to interrogate gene functions and genetic interactions in zebrafish.
The use of CRISPR/Cas9 as a genome-editing tool in various model organisms has radically changed targeted mutagenesis. Here, we present a high-throughput targeted mutagenesis pipeline using CRISPR/Cas9 technology in zebrafish that will make possible both saturation mutagenesis of the genome and large-scale phenotyping efforts. We describe a cloning-free single-guide RNA (sgRNA) synthesis, coupled with streamlined mutant identification methods utilizing fluorescent PCR and multiplexed, high-throughput sequencing. We report germline transmission data from 162 loci targeting 83 genes in the zebrafish genome, in which we obtained a 99% success rate for generating mutations and an average germline transmission rate of 28%. We verified 678 unique alleles from 58 genes by high-throughput sequencing. We demonstrate that our method can be used for efficient multiplexed gene targeting. We also demonstrate that phenotyping can be done in the F1 generation by inbreeding two injected founder fish, significantly reducing animal husbandry and time. This study compares germline transmission data from CRISPR/Cas9 with those of TALENs and ZFNs and shows that efficiency of CRISPR/Cas9 is sixfold more efficient than other techniques. We show that the majority of published "rules" for efficient sgRNA design do not effectively predict germline transmission rates in zebrafish, with the exception of a GG or GA dinucleotide genomic match at the 5' end of the sgRNA. Finally, we show that predicted off-target mutagenesis is of low concern for in vivo genetic studies.
© 2015 Varshney et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Determining the mechanism of gene function is greatly enhanced using conditional mutagenesis. However, generating engineered conditional alleles is inefficient and has only been widely used in mice. Importantly, multiplex conditional mutagenesis requires extensive breeding. Here we demonstrate a system for one-generation multiplex conditional mutagenesis in zebrafish (Danio rerio) using transgenic expression of both cas9 and multiple single guide RNAs (sgRNAs). We describe five distinct zebrafish U6 promoters for sgRNA expression and demonstrate efficient multiplex biallelic inactivation of tyrosinase and insulin receptor a and b, resulting in defects in pigmentation and glucose homeostasis. Furthermore, we demonstrate temporal and tissue-specific mutagenesis using transgenic expression of Cas9. Heat-shock-inducible expression of cas9 allows temporal control of tyr mutagenesis. Liver-specific expression of cas9 disrupts insulin receptor a and b, causing fasting hypoglycemia and postprandial hyperglycemia. We also show that delivery of sgRNAs targeting ascl1a into the eye leads to impaired damage-induced photoreceptor regeneration. Our findings suggest that CRISPR/Cas9-based conditional mutagenesis in zebrafish is not only feasible but rapid and straightforward.
Copyright © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.
The activity-dependent refinement of neural circuit connectivity during critical periods of brain development is essential for optimized behavioral performance. We hypothesize that this mechanism is defective in fragile X syndrome (FXS), the leading heritable cause of intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. Here, we use optogenetic tools in the Drosophila FXS disease model to test activity-dependent dendritogenesis in two extrinsic neurons of the mushroom body (MB) learning and memory brain center: (1) the input projection neuron (PN) innervating Kenyon cells (KCs) in the MB calyx microglomeruli and (2) the output MVP2 neuron innervated by KCs in the MB peduncle. Both input and output neuron classes exhibit distinctive activity-dependent critical period dendritic remodeling. MVP2 arbors expand in Drosophila mutants null for fragile X mental retardation 1 (dfmr1), as well as following channelrhodopsin-driven depolarization during critical period development, but are reduced by halorhodopsin-driven hyperpolarization. Optogenetic manipulation of PNs causes the opposite outcome--reduced dendritic arbors following channelrhodopsin depolarization and expanded arbors following halorhodopsin hyperpolarization during development. Importantly, activity-dependent dendritogenesis in both neuron classes absolutely requires dfmr1 during one developmental window. These results show that dfmr1 acts in a neuron type-specific activity-dependent manner for sculpting dendritic arbors during early-use, critical period development of learning and memory circuitry in the Drosophila brain.
© 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
DNA based transposon systems offer a technology for active and efficient delivery of genes into human cells. An emerging field is directed at manipulating such systems to achieve site-directed integration as compared to un-targeted integration which occurs with native or unmodified transposon systems. The naturally active piggyBac transposon system is derived from insects but has been shown to be very efficient in gene-modifying human cells. Recent efforts have utilized the fusion of DNA binding domains to the piggyBac transposase enzyme with the goal of targeting integration to specific locations in the human genome. In this chapter, we describe methodology for engineering and characterizing chimeric piggyBac transposase enzymes, including experimental approaches for evaluating activity and targeting specificity in the human genome.
Nkx2.2 encodes a homeodomain transcription factor required for the correct specification and/or differentiation of cells in the pancreas, intestine, and central nervous system (CNS). To follow the fate of cells deleted for Nkx2.2 within these tissues, we generated Nkx2.2:lacZ knockin mice using a recombination-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) approach. Expression analysis of lacZ and/or β-galactosidase in Nkx2.2(lacZ/+) heterozygote embryos and adults demonstrates that lacZ faithfully recapitulates endogenous Nkx2.2 expression. Furthermore, the Nkx2.2(lacZ/lacZ) homozygous embryos display phenotypes indistinguishable from the previously characterized Nkx2.2(-/-) strain. LacZ expression analyses in the Nkx2.2(lacZ/lacZ) homozygous embryos indicate that Nkx2.2-expressing progenitor cells within the pancreas are generated in their normal numbers and are not mislocalized within the pancreatic ductal epithelium or developing islets. In the CNS of Nkx2.2(lacZ/lacZ) embryos, LacZ-expressing cells within the ventral P3 progenitor domain display different migration properties depending on the developmental stage and their respective differentiation potential.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Mice with endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) deletions have defined the crucial role of eNOS in vascular development, homeostasis, and pathology. However, cell specific eNOS function has not been determined, although an important role of eNOS has been suggested in multiple cell types. Here, we have generated a floxed eNOS allele in which exons 9-12, encoding the sites essential to eNOS activity, are flanked with loxP sites. Mice homozygous for the floxed allele showed normal eNOS protein levels and no overt phenotype. Conversely, homozygous mice with Cre-deleted alleles displayed truncated eNOS protein, lack of vascular NO production, and exhibited similar phenotype to eNOS knockout mice, including hypertension, low heart rate, and focal renal scarring. These findings demonstrate that the floxed allele is normal and it can be converted to a non-functional eNOS allele through Cre recombination. This mouse will allow time- and cell-specific eNOS deletion.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.