HideRNAs protect against CRISPR-Cas9 re-cutting after successful single base-pair gene editing.


Promiscuous activity of the Streptococcus pyogenes DNA nuclease CRISPR-Cas9 can result in destruction of a successfully modified sequence obtained by templated repair of a Cas9-induced DNA double-strand break. To avoid re-cutting, additional target-site-disruptions (TSDs) are often introduced on top of the desired base-pair alteration in order to suppress target recognition. These TSDs may lower the efficiency of introducing the intended mutation and can cause unexpected phenotypes. Alternatively, successfully edited sites can be protected against Cas9 re-cutting activity. This method exploits the finding that Cas9 complexed to trimmed guideRNAs can still tightly bind specific genomic sequences but lacks nuclease activity. We show here that the presence of a guideRNA plus a trimmed guideRNA that matches the successfully mutated sequence, which we call hideRNA, can enhance the recovery of precise single base-pair substitution events tenfold. The benefit of hideRNAs in generating a single point mutation was demonstrated in cell lines using plasmid-based delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 components and in mouse zygotes injected with Cas9/guideRNA plus Cas9/hideRNA ribonucleoprotein complexes. However, hRNA protection sometimes failed, which likely reflects an unfavorable affinity of hRNA/Cas9 versus gRNA/Cas9 for the DNA target site. HideRNAs can easily be implemented into current gene editing protocols and facilitate the recovery of single base-pair substitution. As such, hideRNAs are of great value in gene editing experiments demanding high accuracy.

More about this publication

Scientific reports
  • Volume 12
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 9606
  • Publication date 10-06-2022

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