Impact of chromatin context on Cas9-induced DNA double-strand break repair pathway balance.


DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair is mediated by multiple pathways. It is thought that the local chromatin context affects the pathway choice, but the underlying principles are poorly understood. Using a multiplexed reporter assay in combination with Cas9 cutting, we systematically measure the relative activities of three DSB repair pathways as a function of chromatin context in >1,000 genomic locations. This reveals that non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) is broadly biased toward euchromatin, while the contribution of microhomology-mediated end-joining (MMEJ) is higher in specific heterochromatin contexts. In H3K27me3-marked heterochromatin, inhibition of the H3K27 methyltransferase EZH2 reverts the balance toward NHEJ. Single-stranded template repair (SSTR), often used for precise CRISPR editing, competes with MMEJ and is moderately linked to chromatin context. These results provide insight into the impact of chromatin on DSB repair pathway balance and guidance for the design of Cas9-mediated genome editing experiments.

More about this publication

Molecular cell
  • Volume 81
  • Issue nr. 10
  • Pages 2216-2230.e10
  • Publication date 20-05-2021

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