Precise, targeted genome editing by CRISPR/Cas9 is key for basic research and translational approaches in model and non-model systems. While active in all species tested so far, editing efficiencies still leave room for improvement. The bacterial Cas9 needs to be efficiently shuttled into the nucleus as attempted by fusion with nuclear localization signals (NLSs). Additional peptide tags such as FLAG- or myc-tags are usually added for immediate detection or straight-forward purification. Immediate activity is usually granted by administration of pre-assembled protein/RNA complexes. We present the 'hei-tag (high efficiency-tag)' which boosts the activity of CRISPR/Cas genome editing tools already when supplied as mRNA. The addition of the hei-tag, a myc tag coupled to an optimized NLS via a flexible linker, to Cas9 or a C-to-T base editor dramatically enhances the respective targeting efficiency. This results in an increase in bi-allelic editing, yet reduction of allele variance, indicating an immediate activity even at early developmental stages. The hei-tag boost is active in model systems ranging from fish to mammals, including tissue culture applications. The simple addition of the hei-tag allows to instantly upgrade existing and potentially highly adapted systems as well as to establish novel highly efficient tools immediately applicable at the mRNA level.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Joachim Wittbrodt
- Joachim Wittbrodt
- Marc Freichel
- Joachim Wittbrodt
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Zacharias Kontarakis, ETH Zurich, Germany
© 2022, Thumberger et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Splicing is highly regulated and is modulated by numerous factors. Quantitative predictions for how a mutation will affect precursor mRNA (pre-mRNA) structure and downstream function are particularly challenging. Here, we use a novel chemical probing strategy to visualize endogenous precursor and mature MAPT mRNA structures in cells. We used these data to estimate Boltzmann suboptimal structural ensembles, which were then analyzed to predict consequences of mutations on pre-mRNA structure. Further analysis of recent cryo-EM structures of the spliceosome at different stages of the splicing cycle revealed that the footprint of the Bact complex with pre-mRNA best predicted alternative splicing outcomes for exon 10 inclusion of the alternatively spliced MAPT gene, achieving 74% accuracy. We further developed a β-regression weighting framework that incorporates splice site strength, RNA structure, and exonic/intronic splicing regulatory elements capable of predicting, with 90% accuracy, the effects of 47 known and 6 newly discovered mutations on inclusion of exon 10 of MAPT. This combined experimental and computational framework represents a path forward for accurate prediction of splicing-related disease-causing variants.
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