Cells 2020 06 18;9(6). Epub 2020 Jun 18.
Genomic Medicine Department, GENYO, Centre for Genomics and Oncological Research, Pfizer-University of Granada-Andalusian Regional Government, Parque Tecnológico Ciencias de la Salud, Av. de la Ilustración 114, 18016 Granada, Spain.
In spite of the enormous potential of CRISPR/Cas in basic and applied science, the levels of undesired genomic modifications cells still remain mostly unknown and controversial. Nowadays, the efficiency and specificity of the cuts generated by CRISPR/Cas is the main concern. However, there are also other potential drawbacks when DNA donors are used for gene repair or gene knock-ins. These GE strategies should take into account not only the specificity of the nucleases, but also the fidelity of the DNA donor to carry out their function. The current methods to quantify the fidelity of DNA donor are costly and lack sensitivity to detect illegitimate DNA donor integrations. In this work, we have engineered two reporter cell lines (K562_SEWAS84 and K562GWP) that efficiently quantify both the on-target and the illegitimate DNA donor integrations in a -locus targeting setting. K562_SEWAS84 cells allow the detection of both HDR-and HITI-based donor integration, while K562GWP cells only report HDR-based GE. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first reporter systems that allow the use of gRNAs targeting a relevant locus to measure efficacy and specificity of DNA donor-based GE strategies. By using these models, we have found that the specificity of HDR is independent of the delivery method and that the insertion of the target sequence into the DNA donor enhances efficiency but do not affect specificity. Finally, we have also shown that the higher the number of the target sites is, the higher the specificity and efficacy of GE will be.