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A pipeline for rapidly generating genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer using in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 mediated somatic recombination

By Noboru Ideno, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Takashi Okumara, Jonathon Huang, Mitchel J Brun, Michelle L Ho, Junghae Suh, Sonal Gupta, Anirban Maitra, Bidyut Ghosh

Posted 23 Aug 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/398347 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41374-018-0171-z)

Genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) that recapitulate the major genetic drivers in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) have provided unprecedented insights into the pathogenesis of this lethal neoplasm. Nonetheless, generating an autochthonous model is an expensive , time consuming and labor intensive process, particularly when tissue specific expression or deletion of compound alleles are involved. In addition, many of the current PDAC GEMMs cause embryonic, pancreas-wide activation or loss of driver alleles, neither of which reflects the cognate human disease scenario. The advent of CRISPR/Cas9 based gene editing can potentially circumvent many of the aforementioned shortcomings of conventional breeding schema, but ensuring the efficiency of gene editing in vivo remains a challenge. Here we have developed a pipeline for generating PDAC GEMMs of complex genotypes with high efficiency using a single 'workhorse' mouse strain expressing Cas9 in the adult pancreas under a p48 promoter. Using adeno-associated virus (AAV) mediated delivery of multiplexed guide RNAs (sgRNAs) to the adult murine pancreas of p48-Cre; LSL-Cas9 mice, we confirm our ability to express an oncogenic Kras G12D allele through homology-directed repair (HDR), in conjunction with CRISPR-induced disruption of cooperating alleles (Trp53, Lkb1 and Arid1A). The resulting GEMMs demonstrate a spectrum of precursor lesions (pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia [PanIN] or Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm [IPMN] with eventual progression to PDAC. Next generation sequencing of the resulting murine PDAC confirms HDR of oncogenic KrasG12D allele at the endogenous locus, and insertion deletion ('indel') and frameshift mutations of targeted tumor suppressor alleles. By using a single 'workhorse' mouse strain and optimal AAV serotype for in vivo gene editing with combination of driver alleles, we have created a facile autochthonous platform for interrogation of the PDAC genome.

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