Single-Stranded DNA with Internal Base Modifications Mediates Highly Efficient Gene Insertion in Primary Cells

Read the full article See related articles

Listed in

This article is not in any list yet, why not save it to one of your lists.
Log in to save this article


Single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) templates along with Cas9 have been used for gene insertion but suffer from low efficiency. Here, we show that ssDNA with chemical modifications in 10-17% of internal bases (eDNA) is compatible with the homologous recombination machinery. Moreover, eDNA templates improve gene insertion by 2-3 fold compared to unmodified and end-modified ssDNA in airway basal stem cells (ABCs), hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), T-cells and endothelial cells. Over 50% of alleles showed gene insertion in three clinically relevant loci ( CFTR, HBB , and CCR5 ) in ABCs using eDNA and up to 70% of alleles showed gene insertion in the HBB locus in HSPCs. This level of correction is therapeutically relevant and is comparable to adeno-associated virus-based templates. Knocking out TREX1 nuclease improved gene insertion using unmodified ssDNA but not eDNA suggesting that chemical modifications inhibit TREX1. This approach can be used for therapeutic applications and biological modeling.

Article activity feed