During CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing, site-specific double strand breaks are introduced and repaired either unspecific by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or sequence dependent by homology directed repair (HDR). Whereas NHEJ-based generation of gene knock-out is widely performed, the HDR-based knock-in of specific mutations remains a bottleneck. Especially in primary cell lines that are essential for the generation of cell culture and animal models of inherited human diseases, knock-in efficacy is insufficient and needs significant improvement. Here, we tested two different approaches to increase the knock-in frequency of a specific point mutation into the MYH7
-gene in porcine fetal fibroblasts. We added a small molecule inhibitor of NHEJ, SCR7 (5,6-bis((E)-benzylideneamino)-2-mercaptopyrimidin-4-ol), during genome editing and screened cell cultures for the point mutation. However, this approach did not yield increased knock-in rates. In an alternative approach, we fused humanized Cas9 (hCas9) to the N-terminal peptide of the Geminin gene (GMNN
). The fusion protein is degraded in NHEJ-dominated cell cycle phases, which should increase HDR-rates. Using hCas9-GMNN
and point mutation-specific real time PCR screening, we found a two-fold increase in genome edited cell cultures. This increase of HDR by hCas9-GMNN
provides a promising way to enrich specific knock-in in porcine fibroblast cultures for somatic cloning approaches.
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