Research ArticleSYNTHETIC BIOLOGY

Safe harbor-targeted CRISPR-Cas9 homology-independent targeted integration for multimodality reporter gene-based cell tracking

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  20 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 4, eabc3791
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc3791

Abstract

Imaging reporter genes provides longitudinal information on the biodistribution, growth, and survival of engineered cells in vivo. A translational bottleneck to using reporter genes is the necessity to engineer cells with randomly integrating vectors. Here, we built homology-independent targeted integration (HITI) CRISPR-Cas9 minicircle donors for precise safe harbor-targeted knock-in of fluorescence, bioluminescence, and MRI (Oatp1a1) reporter genes. Our results showed greater knock-in efficiency using HITI vectors compared to homology-directed repair vectors. HITI clones demonstrated functional fluorescence and bioluminescence reporter activity as well as significant Oatp1a1-mediated uptake of the clinically approved MRI agent gadolinium ethoxybenzyl diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid. Contrast-enhanced MRI improved the conspicuity of both subcutaneous and metastatic Oatp1a1-expressing tumors before they became palpable or even readily visible on precontrast images. Our work demonstrates the first CRISPR-Cas9 HITI system for knock-in of large DNA donor constructs at a safe harbor locus, enabling multimodal longitudinal in vivo imaging of cells.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances