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      High-fidelity CRISPR-Cas9 variants with undetectable genome-wide off-targets

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          Abstract

          CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases are widely used for genome editing but can induce unwanted off-target mutations. Existing strategies for reducing genome-wide off-targets of the broadly used Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (SpCas9) are imperfect, possessing only partial or unproven efficacies and other limitations that constrain their use. Here we describe SpCas9-HF1, a high-fidelity variant harboring alterations designed to reduce non-specific DNA contacts. SpCas9-HF1 retains on-target activities comparable to wild-type SpCas9 with >85% of single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) tested in human cells. Strikingly, with sgRNAs targeted to standard non-repetitive sequences, SpCas9-HF1 rendered all or nearly all off-target events undetectable by genome-wide break capture and targeted sequencing methods. Even for atypical, repetitive target sites, the vast majority of off-targets induced by SpCas9-HF1 were not detected. With its exceptional precision, SpCas9-HF1 provides an alternative to wild-type SpCas9 for research and therapeutic applications. More broadly, our results suggest a general strategy for optimizing genome-wide specificities of other RNA-guided nucleases.

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          Most cited references10

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          Discovery and Functional Characterization of Diverse Class 2 CRISPR-Cas Systems.

          Microbial CRISPR-Cas systems are divided into Class 1, with multisubunit effector complexes, and Class 2, with single protein effectors. Currently, only two Class 2 effectors, Cas9 and Cpf1, are known. We describe here three distinct Class 2 CRISPR-Cas systems. The effectors of two of the identified systems, C2c1 and C2c3, contain RuvC-like endonuclease domains distantly related to Cpf1. The third system, C2c2, contains an effector with two predicted HEPN RNase domains. Whereas production of mature CRISPR RNA (crRNA) by C2c1 depends on tracrRNA, C2c2 crRNA maturation is tracrRNA independent. We found that C2c1 systems can mediate DNA interference in a 5'-PAM-dependent fashion analogous to Cpf1. However, unlike Cpf1, which is a single-RNA-guided nuclease, C2c1 depends on both crRNA and tracrRNA for DNA cleavage. Finally, comparative analysis indicates that Class 2 CRISPR-Cas systems evolved on multiple occasions through recombination of Class 1 adaptation modules with effector proteins acquired from distinct mobile elements.
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            FLASH Assembly of TALENs Enables High-Throughput Genome Editing

            Engineered transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) have shown promise as facile and broadly applicable genome editing tools. However, no publicly available high-throughput method for constructing TALENs has been published and large-scale assessments of the success rate and targeting range of the technology remain lacking. Here we describe the Fast Ligation-based Automatable Solid-phase High-throughput (FLASH) platform, a rapid and cost-effective method we developed to enable large-scale assembly of TALENs. We tested 48 FLASH-assembled TALEN pairs in a human cell-based EGFP reporter system and found that all 48 possessed efficient gene modification activities. We also used FLASH to assemble TALENs for 96 endogenous human genes implicated in cancer and/or epigenetic regulation and found that 84 pairs were able to efficiently introduce targeted alterations. Our results establish the robustness of TALEN technology and demonstrate that FLASH facilitates high-throughput genome editing at a scale not currently possible with engineered zinc-finger nucleases or meganucleases.
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              Orthogonal Cas9 Proteins for RNA-Guided Gene Regulation and Editing

              The Cas9 protein from the Streptococcus pyogenes CRISPR-Cas immune system has been adapted for both RNA-guided genome editing and gene regulation in a variety of organisms, but can mediate only a single activity at a time within any given cell. Here we characterize a set of fully orthogonal Cas9 proteins and demonstrate their ability to mediate simultaneous and independently targeted gene regulation and editing in bacteria and in human cells. We find that Cas9 orthologs display consistent patterns in their recognition of target sequences and identify a highly targetable protein from Neisseria meningitidis. Our results provide a basal set of orthogonal RNA-guided proteins for controlling biological systems and establish a general methodology for characterizing additional proteins and adapting them to eukaryotic cells.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                0410462
                6011
                Nature
                Nature
                Nature
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                11 December 2015
                06 January 2016
                28 January 2016
                06 July 2016
                : 529
                : 7587
                : 490-495
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Molecular Pathology Unit, Center for Cancer Research, and Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA
                [2 ]Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
                [3 ]Department of Biomedical Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to J.K.J. ( jjoung@ 123456mgh.harvard.edu )
                [*]

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                Article
                NIHMS744047
                10.1038/nature16526
                4851738
                26735016
                3d64bb59-58a7-4423-8c39-82615c1cb33b

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