Double-strand break toxicity is chromatin context independent.


Cells respond to double-strand breaks (DSBs) by activating DNA damage response pathways, including cell cycle arrest. We have previously shown that a single double-strand break generated via CRISPR/Cas9 is sufficient to delay cell cycle progression and compromise cell viability. However, we also found that the cellular response to DSBs can vary, independent of the number of lesions. This implies that not all DSBs are equally toxic, and raises the question if the location of a single double-strand break could influence its toxicity. To systematically investigate if DSB-location is a determinant of toxicity we performed a CRISPR/Cas9 screen targeting 6237 single sites in the human genome. Next, we developed a data-driven framework to design CRISPR/Cas9 sgRNA (crRNA) pools targeting specific chromatin features. The chromatin context was defined using ChromHMM states, Lamin-B1 DAM-iD, DNAseI hypersensitivity, and RNA-sequencing data. We computationally designed 6 distinct crRNA pools, each containing 10 crRNAs targeting the same chromatin state. We show that the toxicity of a DSB is highly similar across the different ChromHMM states. Rather, we find that the major determinants of toxicity of a sgRNA are cutting efficiency and off-target effects. Thus, chromatin features have little to no effect on the toxicity of a single CRISPR/Cas9-induced DSB.

More about this publication

Nucleic acids research
  • Volume 50
  • Issue nr. 17
  • Pages 9930-9947
  • Publication date 23-09-2022

This site uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.