Labeling Endogenous Proteins Using CRISPR-mediated Insertion of Exon (CRISPIE)

Evan A. Wilson, Tianyi Mao, Haining Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The CRISPR/Cas9 technology has transformed our ability to edit eukaryotic genomes. Despite this breakthrough, it remains challenging to precisely knock-in large DNA sequences, such as those encoding a fluorescent protein, for labeling or modifying a target protein in post-mitotic cells. Previous efforts focusing on sequence insertion to the protein coding sequence often suffer from insertions/deletions (INDELs) resulting from the efficient non-homologous end joining pathway (NHEJ). To overcome this limitation, we have developed CRISPR-mediated insertion of exon (CRISPIE). CRISPIE circumvents INDELs and other editing errors by inserting a designer exon flanked by adjacent intron sequences into an appropriate intronic location of the targeted gene. Because INDELs at the insertion junction can be spliced out, "CRISPIEd" genes produce precisely edited mRNA transcripts that are virtually error-free. In part due to the elimination of INDELs, high-efficiency labeling can be achieved in vivo. CRISPIE is compatible with both N- and C-terminal labels, and with all common transfection methods. Importantly, CRISPIE allows for later removal of the protein modification by including exogenous single-guide RNA (sgRNA) sites in the intronic region of the donor module. This protocol provides the detailed CRISPIE methodology, using endogenous labeling of β-actin in human U-2 OS cells with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) as an example. When combined with the appropriate gene delivery methods, the same methodology can be applied to label post-mitotic neurons in culture and in vivo. This methodology can also be readily adapted for use in other gene editing contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4343
JournalBio-protocol
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 5 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Fluorescent labeling of endogenous proteins
  • Genome editing
  • Knock-in
  • Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ)
  • Somatic cell editing
  • Transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Plant Science

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