2021 Vol. 35, No. 2
Genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models are commonly used in biomedical research. Generating GEMs involve complex set of experimental procedures requiring sophisticated equipment and highly skilled technical staff. Because of these reasons, most research institutes set up centralized core facilities where custom GEMs are created for research groups. Researchers, on the other hand, when they begin thinking about generating GEMs for their research, several questions arise in their minds. For example, what type of model(s) would be best useful for my research, how do I design them, what are the latest technologies and tools available for developing my model(s), and finally how to breed GEMs in my research. As there are several considerations and options in mouse designs, and as it is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, careful planning upfront can ensure the highest chance of success. In this article, we provide brief answers to several frequently asked questions that arise when researchers begin thinking about generating mouse model(s) for their work.
The discovery and utilization of RNA-guided surveillance complexes, such as CRISPR-Cas9, for sequence-specific DNA or RNA cleavage, has revolutionised the process of gene modification or knockdown. To optimise the use of this technology, an exploratory race has ensued to discover or develop new RNA-guided endonucleases with the most flexible sequence targeting requirements, coupled with high cleavage efficacy and specificity. Here we review the constraints of existing gene editing and assess the merits of exploiting the diversity of CRISPR-Cas effectors as a methodology for surmounting these limitations.
2021, 35(2): 107-114. doi: 10.7555/JBR.34.20200003
Genome editing has undergone rapid development in recent years, yielding new approaches to make precise changes in genes. In this review, we discuss the development of various adenine and cytosine base-editing technologies, which share the ability to make specific base changes at specific sites in the genome. We also describe multiple applications of base editing in vitro and in vivo. Finally, as a practical example, we demonstrate the use of a cytosine base editor and an adenine base editor in human cells to introduce and then correct a prevalent mutation responsible for hereditary tyrosinemia type 1.
With advancements in gene editing technologies, our ability to make precise and efficient modifications to the genome is increasing at a remarkable rate, paving the way for scientists and clinicians to uniquely treat a multitude of previously irremediable diseases. CRISPR-Cas9, short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9, is a gene editing platform with the ability to alter the nucleotide sequence of the genome in living cells. This technology is increasing the number and pace at which new gene editing treatments for genetic disorders are moving toward the clinic. The β-hemoglobinopathies are a group of monogenic diseases, which despite their high prevalence and chronic debilitating nature, continue to have few therapeutic options available. In this review, we will discuss our existing comprehension of the genetics and current state of treatment for β-hemoglobinopathies, consider potential genome editing therapeutic strategies, and provide an overview of the current state of clinical trials using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing.
2021, 35(2): 135-147. doi: 10.7555/JBR.34.20190133
The rabbit has been recognized as a valuable model in various biomedical and biological research fields because of its intermediate size and phylogenetic proximity to primates. However, the technology for precise genome manipulations in rabbit has been stalled for decades, severely limiting its applications in biomedical research. Novel genome editing technologies, especially CRISPR/Cas9, have remarkably enhanced precise genome manipulation in rabbits, and shown their superiority and promise for generating rabbit models of human genetic diseases. In this review, we summarize the brief history of transgenic rabbit technology and the development of novel genome editing technologies in rabbits.
There are an estimated 10 000 monogenic diseases affecting tens of millions of individuals worldwide. The application of CRISPR/Cas genome editing tools to treat monogenic diseases is an emerging strategy with the potential to generate personalized treatment approaches for these patients. CRISPR/Cas-based systems are programmable and sequence-specific genome editing tools with the capacity to generate base pair resolution manipulations to DNA or RNA. The complexity of genomic insults resulting in heritable disease requires patient-specific genome editing strategies with consideration of DNA repair pathways, and CRISPR/Cas systems of different types, species, and those with additional enzymatic capacity and/or delivery methods. In this review we aim to discuss broad and multifaceted therapeutic applications of CRISPR/Cas gene editing systems including in harnessing of homology directed repair, non-homologous end joining, microhomology-mediated end joining, and base editing to permanently correct diverse monogenic diseases.
Since genetic engineering of pigs can benefit both biomedicine and agriculture, selecting a suitable gene promoter is critically important. The cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, which can robustly drive ubiquitous transgene expression, is commonly used at present, yet recent reports suggest tissue-specific activity in the pig. The objective of this study was to quantify ZsGreen1 protein (in lieu of CMV promoter activity) in tissues from pigs harboring a CMV-ZsGreen1 transgene with a single integration site. Tissue samples (n=35) were collected from neonatal hemizygous (n=3) and homozygous (n=3) piglets and ZsGreen1 abundance was determined via immunoblotting. ZsGreen1 was detected in all tissues, except hypothalamus, kidney cortex and oviduct. The expression patterns of homozygous and hemizygous piglets were similar (P>0.05). However, quantification revealed that ZsGreen1 protein levels were tissue-specific. Within neural/endocrine tissues, ZsGreen1 abundance was highest in the anterior pituitary gland, intermediate in the cerebellum and lowest in the cerebrum, spinal cord and posterior pituitary (P<0.05). In the digestive system, ZsGreen1 was more abundant in the salivary gland than esophagus, stomach, pancreas, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, spleen, colon, gallbladder and liver (P<0.05). Interestingly, ZsGreen1 amounts also differed within an organ (i.e., the right ventricle had 3-fold higher levels than the other heart chambers; P<0.05). These results provide useful information for the use of the CMV promoter to drive transgene expression in the pig. Moreover, this swine model represents a novel resource of ZsGreen1-labeled organs and a valuable tool to advance genome editing research.