ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-180908-3
A tRNA-based multiplex sgRNA expression system in zebrafish and its application to generation of transgenic albino fish
Shiraki, T., Kawakami, K.
The CRISPR/Cas9 system can be introduced into zebrafish as transgenes. Namely, expression of single-guide RNA (sgRNA) and controlled expression of Cas9 in transgenic zebrafish enables the study of gene functions in specific cell types. This transgenic CRISPR/Cas9 approach would be more useful if multiple sgRNAs could be expressed simultaneously since we could knock-out a gene more efficiently or disrupt multiple genes simultaneously. Here we describe a novel system to express multiple sgRNAs efficiently in zebrafish, that relies on the endogenous tRNA processing machinery. We cloned nine endogenous zebrafish tRNA genes, fused them to sgRNAs, and demonstrated that an active sgRNA can be produced from a precursor transcript containing either of these tRNAs. To show a proof of principle, we constructed transgenic fish expressing Cas9 under the control of the ubiquitin promoter and a single transcript containing three distinct sgRNAs, that targeted the slc45a2 (albino) gene, fused to tRNAs under the control of the U6 promoter. We found that the Tg(ubb:SpCas9,u6c:3xslc45a2-sgRNA) harbored mutations in all of the target sites in the albino gene and showed nearly complete albino phenotypes, which were amenable to imaging experiments. Thus, the tRNA-based multiplex sgRNA expression system should facilitate gene knock-out studies in transgenic zebrafish.
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