CRISPR/Cas9-mediated generic protein tagging in mammalian cells.

Affiliation

Department of Molecular Hematology and LOEWE Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, University Hospital Frankfurt, Goethe University, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Systematic protein localization and protein-protein interaction studies to characterize specific protein functions are most effectively performed using tag-based assays. Ideally, protein tags are introduced into a gene of interest by homologous recombination to ensure expression from endogenous control elements. However, inefficient homologous recombination makes this approach difficult in mammalian cells. Although gene targeting efficiency by homologous recombination increased dramatically with the development of designer endonuclease systems such as CRISPR/Cas9 capable of inducing DNA double-strand breaks with unprecedented accuracy, the strategies still require synthesis or cloning of homology templates for every single gene. Recent developments have shown that endogenous protein tagging can be achieved efficiently in a homology independent manner. Hence, combinations between CRISPR/Cas9 and generic tag-donor plasmids have been used successfully for targeted gene modifications in mammalian cells. Here, we developed a tool kit comprising a CRISPR/Cas9 expression vector with several EGFP encoding plasmids that should enable tagging of almost every protein expressed in mammalian cells. By performing protein-protein interaction and subcellular localization studies of mTORC1 signal transduction pathway-related proteins expressed in HEK293T cells, we show that tagged proteins faithfully reflect the behavior of their native counterparts under physiological conditions.

Keywords

CRISPR/Cas,EGFP,Protein tagging,Proteomics,mTORC1,

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