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Cationic lipid-mediated delivery of proteins enables efficient protein-based genome editing in vitro and in vivo.

Zuris JA, Thompson DB, Shu Y, Guilinger JP, Bessen JL, Hu JH, Maeder ML, Joung JK, Chen ZY, Liu DR - Nat. Biotechnol. (2014)

Bottom Line: Current methods of protein delivery commonly suffer from low tolerance for serum, poor endosomal escape and limited in vivo efficacy.This approach mediates the potent delivery of nM concentrations of Cre recombinase, TALE- and Cas9-based transcription activators, and Cas9:sgRNA nuclease complexes into cultured human cells in media containing 10% serum.Delivery of unmodified Cas9:sgRNA complexes resulted in up to 80% genome modification with substantially higher specificity compared to DNA transfection.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1] Department of Chemistry &Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. [2] Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

ABSTRACT
Efficient intracellular delivery of proteins is needed to fully realize the potential of protein therapeutics. Current methods of protein delivery commonly suffer from low tolerance for serum, poor endosomal escape and limited in vivo efficacy. Here we report that common cationic lipid nucleic acid transfection reagents can potently deliver proteins that are fused to negatively supercharged proteins, that contain natural anionic domains or that natively bind to anionic nucleic acids. This approach mediates the potent delivery of nM concentrations of Cre recombinase, TALE- and Cas9-based transcription activators, and Cas9:sgRNA nuclease complexes into cultured human cells in media containing 10% serum. Delivery of unmodified Cas9:sgRNA complexes resulted in up to 80% genome modification with substantially higher specificity compared to DNA transfection. This approach also mediated efficient delivery of Cre recombinase and Cas9:sgRNA complexes into the mouse inner ear in vivo, achieving 90% Cre-mediated recombination and 20% Cas9-mediated genome modification in hair cells.

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Delivery of Cas9:sgRNA, Cas9 D10A nickase, and dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators to cultured human cells. (a) Green entries: U2OS EGFP reporter cells were treated with 100 nM of the Cas9 protein variant shown, 0.8 µL of the cationic lipid shown, and either 50 nM of the sgRNA shown for Cas9 protein treatment, or 125 nM of the sgRNA shown for (+36)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 and (−30)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 treatment. The fraction of cells lacking EGFP expression was measured by flow cytometry. Blue entries: plasmid DNA transfection of 750 ng Cas9 and 250 ng sgRNA expression plasmids using 0.8 µL Lipofectamine 2000. (b) T7 endonuclease I (T7EI) assay to measure modification of EGFP from no treatment (lane 1), treatment with EGFP-targeting sgRNA alone (lane 2), Cas9 protein alone (lane 3), Cas9 protein + VEGF-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 4), DNA transfection of plasmids expressing Cas9 and EGFP-targeting sgRNA (lane 5), or Cas9 protein + EGFP-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 6). (c) T7EI assay of simultaneous genome modification at EGFP and three endogenous genes in U2OS cells 48 hours after a single treatment of 100 nM Cas9 protein, 25 nM of each of the four sgRNAs shown (100 nM total sgRNA), and 0.8 µL RNAiMAX. (d) Delivery of Cas9 D10A nickase and pairs of sgRNAs either by plasmid transfection or by RNAiMAX-mediated protein:sgRNA complex delivery under conditions described in (a) with 50 nM EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs (25 nM each) for protein delivery, and 250 ng sgRNA-expressing plasmids (125 ng each) for DNA delivery. EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs g1 + g5, or g3 + g7, are expected to result in gene disruption, while g5 + g7 target the same strand and are expected to be non-functional. (e) Delivery of dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators that target NTF3 either by DNA transfection or RNAiMAX-mediated protein delivery. Error bars reflect s.d. from six biological replicates performed on different days.
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Figure 4: Delivery of Cas9:sgRNA, Cas9 D10A nickase, and dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators to cultured human cells. (a) Green entries: U2OS EGFP reporter cells were treated with 100 nM of the Cas9 protein variant shown, 0.8 µL of the cationic lipid shown, and either 50 nM of the sgRNA shown for Cas9 protein treatment, or 125 nM of the sgRNA shown for (+36)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 and (−30)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 treatment. The fraction of cells lacking EGFP expression was measured by flow cytometry. Blue entries: plasmid DNA transfection of 750 ng Cas9 and 250 ng sgRNA expression plasmids using 0.8 µL Lipofectamine 2000. (b) T7 endonuclease I (T7EI) assay to measure modification of EGFP from no treatment (lane 1), treatment with EGFP-targeting sgRNA alone (lane 2), Cas9 protein alone (lane 3), Cas9 protein + VEGF-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 4), DNA transfection of plasmids expressing Cas9 and EGFP-targeting sgRNA (lane 5), or Cas9 protein + EGFP-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 6). (c) T7EI assay of simultaneous genome modification at EGFP and three endogenous genes in U2OS cells 48 hours after a single treatment of 100 nM Cas9 protein, 25 nM of each of the four sgRNAs shown (100 nM total sgRNA), and 0.8 µL RNAiMAX. (d) Delivery of Cas9 D10A nickase and pairs of sgRNAs either by plasmid transfection or by RNAiMAX-mediated protein:sgRNA complex delivery under conditions described in (a) with 50 nM EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs (25 nM each) for protein delivery, and 250 ng sgRNA-expressing plasmids (125 ng each) for DNA delivery. EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs g1 + g5, or g3 + g7, are expected to result in gene disruption, while g5 + g7 target the same strand and are expected to be non-functional. (e) Delivery of dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators that target NTF3 either by DNA transfection or RNAiMAX-mediated protein delivery. Error bars reflect s.d. from six biological replicates performed on different days.

Mentions: Given the potent lipid-mediated delivery of polyanionic Cre and TALE activator protein variants in full-serum media, we speculated that CRISPR-Cas9:sgRNA complexes, either as fusions with (−30)GFP or as native polyanionic Cas9:guide RNA complexes, might also be delivered into human cells using this approach. Using a well-established Cas9-induced gene disruption assay,32 we targeted specific sites within a genomic EGFP reporter gene in human U2OS cells (Supplementary Fig. 4a). On-target Cas9 cleavage induces non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) in EGFP and the loss of cell fluorescence. To avoid interference from the fluorescence of (−30)GFP, we introduced a Y67S mutation into (−30)GFP to eliminate its fluorescence, and designated this non-fluorescent variant as (−30)dGFP. Treatment of U2OS reporter cells with 25 nM (−30)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 and 25 nM EGFP-targeting sgRNA with RNAiMAX in DMEM containing 10% FBS showed loss of EGFP expression in 48% of cells (Fig. 4a). No significant EGFP disruption was observed upon transfection of plasmids encoding EGFP sgRNA alone, Cas9 alone, or cotransfection of plasmids encoding Cas9 and an sgRNA designed to target a VEGF locus (Fig. 4a and Supplementary Fig. 4b).


Cationic lipid-mediated delivery of proteins enables efficient protein-based genome editing in vitro and in vivo.

Zuris JA, Thompson DB, Shu Y, Guilinger JP, Bessen JL, Hu JH, Maeder ML, Joung JK, Chen ZY, Liu DR - Nat. Biotechnol. (2014)

Delivery of Cas9:sgRNA, Cas9 D10A nickase, and dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators to cultured human cells. (a) Green entries: U2OS EGFP reporter cells were treated with 100 nM of the Cas9 protein variant shown, 0.8 µL of the cationic lipid shown, and either 50 nM of the sgRNA shown for Cas9 protein treatment, or 125 nM of the sgRNA shown for (+36)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 and (−30)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 treatment. The fraction of cells lacking EGFP expression was measured by flow cytometry. Blue entries: plasmid DNA transfection of 750 ng Cas9 and 250 ng sgRNA expression plasmids using 0.8 µL Lipofectamine 2000. (b) T7 endonuclease I (T7EI) assay to measure modification of EGFP from no treatment (lane 1), treatment with EGFP-targeting sgRNA alone (lane 2), Cas9 protein alone (lane 3), Cas9 protein + VEGF-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 4), DNA transfection of plasmids expressing Cas9 and EGFP-targeting sgRNA (lane 5), or Cas9 protein + EGFP-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 6). (c) T7EI assay of simultaneous genome modification at EGFP and three endogenous genes in U2OS cells 48 hours after a single treatment of 100 nM Cas9 protein, 25 nM of each of the four sgRNAs shown (100 nM total sgRNA), and 0.8 µL RNAiMAX. (d) Delivery of Cas9 D10A nickase and pairs of sgRNAs either by plasmid transfection or by RNAiMAX-mediated protein:sgRNA complex delivery under conditions described in (a) with 50 nM EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs (25 nM each) for protein delivery, and 250 ng sgRNA-expressing plasmids (125 ng each) for DNA delivery. EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs g1 + g5, or g3 + g7, are expected to result in gene disruption, while g5 + g7 target the same strand and are expected to be non-functional. (e) Delivery of dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators that target NTF3 either by DNA transfection or RNAiMAX-mediated protein delivery. Error bars reflect s.d. from six biological replicates performed on different days.
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Figure 4: Delivery of Cas9:sgRNA, Cas9 D10A nickase, and dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators to cultured human cells. (a) Green entries: U2OS EGFP reporter cells were treated with 100 nM of the Cas9 protein variant shown, 0.8 µL of the cationic lipid shown, and either 50 nM of the sgRNA shown for Cas9 protein treatment, or 125 nM of the sgRNA shown for (+36)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 and (−30)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 treatment. The fraction of cells lacking EGFP expression was measured by flow cytometry. Blue entries: plasmid DNA transfection of 750 ng Cas9 and 250 ng sgRNA expression plasmids using 0.8 µL Lipofectamine 2000. (b) T7 endonuclease I (T7EI) assay to measure modification of EGFP from no treatment (lane 1), treatment with EGFP-targeting sgRNA alone (lane 2), Cas9 protein alone (lane 3), Cas9 protein + VEGF-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 4), DNA transfection of plasmids expressing Cas9 and EGFP-targeting sgRNA (lane 5), or Cas9 protein + EGFP-targeting sgRNA + RNAiMAX (lane 6). (c) T7EI assay of simultaneous genome modification at EGFP and three endogenous genes in U2OS cells 48 hours after a single treatment of 100 nM Cas9 protein, 25 nM of each of the four sgRNAs shown (100 nM total sgRNA), and 0.8 µL RNAiMAX. (d) Delivery of Cas9 D10A nickase and pairs of sgRNAs either by plasmid transfection or by RNAiMAX-mediated protein:sgRNA complex delivery under conditions described in (a) with 50 nM EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs (25 nM each) for protein delivery, and 250 ng sgRNA-expressing plasmids (125 ng each) for DNA delivery. EGFP-disrupting sgRNAs g1 + g5, or g3 + g7, are expected to result in gene disruption, while g5 + g7 target the same strand and are expected to be non-functional. (e) Delivery of dCas9-VP64 transcriptional activators that target NTF3 either by DNA transfection or RNAiMAX-mediated protein delivery. Error bars reflect s.d. from six biological replicates performed on different days.
Mentions: Given the potent lipid-mediated delivery of polyanionic Cre and TALE activator protein variants in full-serum media, we speculated that CRISPR-Cas9:sgRNA complexes, either as fusions with (−30)GFP or as native polyanionic Cas9:guide RNA complexes, might also be delivered into human cells using this approach. Using a well-established Cas9-induced gene disruption assay,32 we targeted specific sites within a genomic EGFP reporter gene in human U2OS cells (Supplementary Fig. 4a). On-target Cas9 cleavage induces non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) in EGFP and the loss of cell fluorescence. To avoid interference from the fluorescence of (−30)GFP, we introduced a Y67S mutation into (−30)GFP to eliminate its fluorescence, and designated this non-fluorescent variant as (−30)dGFP. Treatment of U2OS reporter cells with 25 nM (−30)dGFP-NLS-Cas9 and 25 nM EGFP-targeting sgRNA with RNAiMAX in DMEM containing 10% FBS showed loss of EGFP expression in 48% of cells (Fig. 4a). No significant EGFP disruption was observed upon transfection of plasmids encoding EGFP sgRNA alone, Cas9 alone, or cotransfection of plasmids encoding Cas9 and an sgRNA designed to target a VEGF locus (Fig. 4a and Supplementary Fig. 4b).

Bottom Line: Current methods of protein delivery commonly suffer from low tolerance for serum, poor endosomal escape and limited in vivo efficacy.This approach mediates the potent delivery of nM concentrations of Cre recombinase, TALE- and Cas9-based transcription activators, and Cas9:sgRNA nuclease complexes into cultured human cells in media containing 10% serum.Delivery of unmodified Cas9:sgRNA complexes resulted in up to 80% genome modification with substantially higher specificity compared to DNA transfection.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1] Department of Chemistry &Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. [2] Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

ABSTRACT
Efficient intracellular delivery of proteins is needed to fully realize the potential of protein therapeutics. Current methods of protein delivery commonly suffer from low tolerance for serum, poor endosomal escape and limited in vivo efficacy. Here we report that common cationic lipid nucleic acid transfection reagents can potently deliver proteins that are fused to negatively supercharged proteins, that contain natural anionic domains or that natively bind to anionic nucleic acids. This approach mediates the potent delivery of nM concentrations of Cre recombinase, TALE- and Cas9-based transcription activators, and Cas9:sgRNA nuclease complexes into cultured human cells in media containing 10% serum. Delivery of unmodified Cas9:sgRNA complexes resulted in up to 80% genome modification with substantially higher specificity compared to DNA transfection. This approach also mediated efficient delivery of Cre recombinase and Cas9:sgRNA complexes into the mouse inner ear in vivo, achieving 90% Cre-mediated recombination and 20% Cas9-mediated genome modification in hair cells.

Show MeSH