Complementary Information Derived from CRISPR Cas9 Mediated Gene Deletion and Suppression.

Image credited to Hiroshi Nishimasu, F. Ann Ran, Patrick D. Hsu, Silvana Konermann, Soraya I. Shehata, Naoshi Dohmae, Ryuichiro Ishitani, Feng Zhang, and Osamu Nureki, via Wikimedia Commons

Rosenbluh J, Xu H, Harrington W, Gill S, Wang X, Vazquez F, Root DE, Tsherniak A, Hahn WC.

Nature Communications

May 23, 2017

CRISPR-Cas9 provides the means to perform genome editing and facilitates loss-of-function screens. However, we and others demonstrated that expression of the Cas9 endonuclease induces a gene-independent response that correlates with the number of target sequences in the genome. An alternative approach to suppressing gene expression is to block transcription using a catalytically inactive Cas9 (dCas9). Here we directly compare genome editing by CRISPR-Cas9 (cutting, CRISPRc) and gene suppression using KRAB-dCas9 (CRISPRi) in loss-of-function screens to identify cell essential genes. CRISPRc identified 98% of previously defined cell essential genes. After optimizing library construction by analysing transcriptional start sites (TSS), CRISRPi identified 92% of core cell essential genes and did not show a bias to regions involved in copy number alterations. However, bidirectional promoters scored as false positives in CRISRPi. We conclude that CRISPRc and CRISPRi have different off-target effects and combining these approaches provides complementary information in loss-of-function genetic screens.

Last updated: November 27, 2017