DNA-guided transcription factor cooperativity shapes face and limb mesenchyme.
bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology
Transcription factors (TFs) can define distinct cellular identities despite nearly identical DNA-binding specificities. One mechanism for achieving regulatory specificity is DNA-guided TF cooperativity. Although in vitro studies suggest it may be common, examples of such cooperativity remain scarce in cellular contexts. Here, we demonstrate how 'Coordinator', a long DNA motif comprised of common motifs bound by many basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) and homeodomain (HD) TFs, uniquely defines regulatory regions of embryonic face and limb mesenchyme. Coordinator guides cooperative and selective binding between the bHLH family mesenchymal regulator TWIST1 and a collective of HD factors associated with regional identities in the face and limb. TWIST1 is required for HD binding and open chromatin at Coordinator sites, while HD factors stabilize TWIST1 occupancy at Coordinator and titrate it away from HD-independent sites. This cooperativity results in shared regulation of genes involved in cell-type and positional identities, and ultimately shapes facial morphology and evolution.
View details for DOI 10.1101/2023.05.29.541540
View details for PubMedID 37398193
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10312427
Maximizing CRISPRi efficacy and accessibility with dual-sgRNA libraries and optimal effectors.
CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) enables programmable, reversible, and titratable repression of gene expression (knockdown) in mammalian cells. Initial CRISPRi-mediated genetic screens have showcased the potential to address basic questions in cell biology, genetics, and biotechnology, but wider deployment of CRISPRi screening has been constrained by the large size of single guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries and challenges in generating cell models with consistent CRISPRi-mediated knockdown. Here, we present next-generation CRISPRi sgRNA libraries and effector expression constructs that enable strong and consistent knockdown across mammalian cell models. First, we combine empirical sgRNA selection with a dual-sgRNA library design to generate an ultra-compact (1-3 elements per gene), highly active CRISPRi sgRNA library. Next, we compare CRISPRi effectors to show that the recently published Zim3-dCas9 provides an excellent balance between strong on-target knockdown and minimal non-specific effects on cell growth or the transcriptome. Finally, we engineer a suite of cell lines with stable expression of Zim3-dCas9 and robust on-target knockdown. Our results and publicly available reagents establish best practices for CRISPRi genetic screening.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.81856
View details for PubMedID 36576240
Mapping information-rich genotype-phenotype landscapes with genome-scale Perturb-seq
2022; 185 (14): 2559-+
A central goal of genetics is to define the relationships between genotypes and phenotypes. High-content phenotypic screens such as Perturb-seq (CRISPR-based screens with single-cell RNA-sequencing readouts) enable massively parallel functional genomic mapping but, to date, have been used at limited scales. Here, we perform genome-scale Perturb-seq targeting all expressed genes with CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) across >2.5 million human cells. We use transcriptional phenotypes to predict the function of poorly characterized genes, uncovering new regulators of ribosome biogenesis (including CCDC86, ZNF236, and SPATA5L1), transcription (C7orf26), and mitochondrial respiration (TMEM242). In addition to assigning gene function, single-cell transcriptional phenotypes allow for in-depth dissection of complex cellular phenomena-from RNA processing to differentiation. We leverage this ability to systematically identify genetic drivers and consequences of aneuploidy and to discover an unanticipated layer of stress-specific regulation of the mitochondrial genome. Our information-rich genotype-phenotype map reveals a multidimensional portrait of gene and cellular function.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2022.05.013
View details for Web of Science ID 000961505000001
View details for PubMedID 35688146
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9380471
Genome-wide programmable transcriptional memory by CRISPR-based epigenome editing.
A general approach for heritably altering gene expression has the potential to enable many discovery and therapeutic efforts. Here, we present CRISPRoff-a programmable epigenetic memory writer consisting of a single dead Cas9 fusion protein that establishes DNA methylation and repressive histone modifications. Transient CRISPRoff expression initiates highly specific DNA methylation and gene repression that is maintained through cell division and differentiation of stem cells to neurons. Pairing CRISPRoff with genome-wide screens and analysis of chromatin marks establishes rules for heritable gene silencing. We identify single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) capable of silencing the large majority of genes including those lacking canonical CpG islands (CGIs) and reveal a wide targeting window extending beyond annotated CGIs. The broad ability of CRISPRoff to initiate heritable gene silencing even outside of CGIs expands the canonical model of methylation-based silencing and enables diverse applications including genome-wide screens, multiplexed cell engineering, enhancer silencing, and mechanistic exploration of epigenetic inheritance.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2021.03.025
View details for PubMedID 33838111