Titrating gene expression with series of systematically compromised CRISPR guide RNAs
Daniel A Santos,
Reuben A. Saunders,
Max A. Horlbeck,
John S. Hawkins,
Sonia M Scaria,
Thomas M Norman,
Jeffrey A Hussmann,
Christina R. Liem,
Carol A. Gross,
Jonathan S. Weissman
Posted 28 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/717389 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0387-5)
Posted 28 Jul 2019
Biological phenotypes arise from the degrees to which genes are expressed, but the lack of tools to precisely control gene expression limits our ability to evaluate the underlying expression-phenotype relationships. Here, we describe a readily implementable approach to titrate expression of human genes using series of systematically compromised sgRNAs and CRISPR interference. We empirically characterize the activities of compromised sgRNAs using large-scale measurements across multiple cell models and derive the rules governing sgRNA activity using deep learning, enabling construction of a compact sgRNA library to titrate expression of ~2,400 genes involved in central cell biology and a genome-wide in silico library. Staging cells along a continuum of gene expression levels combined with rich single-cell RNA-seq readout reveals gene-specific expression-phenotype relationships with expression level-specific responses. Our work provides a general tool to control gene expression, with applications ranging from tuning biochemical pathways to identifying suppressors for diseases of dysregulated gene expression.
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