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Cold Spring Harb Protoc July 8, 2021;

Generating Nonmosaic Mutants in Xenopus Using CRISPR-Cas in Oocytes.

Cha SW .

In CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs) primarily undergo repair through nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), which produces insertion or deletion of random nucleotides within the targeted region (indels). As a result, frameshift mutation-mediated loss-of-function mutants are frequently produced. An alternative repair mechanism, homology-directed repair (HDR), can be used to fix DSBs at relatively low frequency. By injecting a DNA-homology repair construct with the CRISPR-Cas components, specific nucleotide sequences can be introduced within the target region by HDR. We have taken advantage of the fact that Xenopus oocytes have much higher levels of HDR than eggs to increase the effectiveness of creating precise mutations. We introduced the oocyte host transfer technique, well established for knockdown of maternal mRNA for loss-of-function experiments, to CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing. The host-transfer technique is based on the ability of Xenopus oocytes to be isolated, injected with CRISPR-Cas components, and cultured in vitro for up to 5 d before fertilization. During these 5 d, CRISPR-Cas components degrade, preventing further alterations to the paternal or maternal genomes after fertilization and resulting in heterozygous, nonmosaic embryos. Treatment of oocytes with a DNA ligase IV inhibitor, which blocks the NHEJ repair pathway, before fertilization further improves the efficiency of HDR. This method allows straightforward generation of either nonmosaic F0 heterozygous indel mutant Xenopus or Xenopus with efficient, targeted insertion of small DNA fragments (73-104 nt). The germline transmission of mutations in these animals allows homozygous mutants to be obtained one generation (F1) sooner than previously reported.

PubMed ID: 34244351
Article link: Cold Spring Harb Protoc

Species referenced: Xenopus tropicalis Xenopus laevis