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Single step, high efficiency CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in primary human disease-derived fibroblasts

By Matteo Martufi, Robert B Good, Radu Rapiteanu, Tobias Schmidt, Eleni Patili, Ketil Tvermosegaard, Carmel B Nanthakumar, Joanna Betts, Andy D Blanchard, Klio Maratou

Posted 11 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/440099 (published DOI: 10.1089/crispr.2018.0047)

Genome editing is a tool that has many applications including the validation of potential drug targets. However, performing genome editing in low passage, primary human cells with the greatest physiological relevance, is notoriously difficult. High editing efficiency is desired because it enables gene knock outs (KO) to be generated in bulk cellular populations and circumvents the problem of having to generate clonal cell isolates. Here, we describe a single step workflow enabling >90% KO generation in primary human lung fibroblasts via CRISPR ribonucleoprotein delivery, in the absence of antibiotic selection or clonal expansion. As proof of concept, we performed a disease relevant phenotypic assay measuring collagen deposition in response to TGFβ and demonstrated SMAD3 but not SMAD2 dependent deposition of type I collagen following knockout of each using our single step methodology. The optimization of this workflow can readily be transferred to other primary cell types.

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