Enhanced genome editing in mammalian cells with a modified dual-fluorescent surrogate system

Yan Zhou, Yong Liu, Dianna Hussmann, Peter Brøgger, Rasha Abdelkadhem Al-Saaidi, Shuang Tan, Lin Lin, Trine Skov Petersen, Guang Qian Zhou, Peter Bross, Lars Aagaard, Tino Klein, Sif Groth Rønn, Henrik Duelund Pedersen, Lars Bolund, Anders Lade Nielsen, Charlotte Brandt Sørensen, Yonglun Luo

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Programmable DNA nucleases such as TALENs and CRISPR/Cas9 are emerging as powerful tools for genome editing. Dual-fluorescent surrogate systems have been demonstrated by several studies to recapitulate DNA nuclease activity and enrich for genetically edited cells. In this study, we created a single-strand annealing-directed, dual-fluorescent surrogate reporter system, referred to as C-Check. We opted for the Golden Gate Cloning strategy to simplify C-Check construction. To demonstrate the utility of the C-Check system, we used the C-Check in combination with TALENs or CRISPR/Cas9 in different scenarios of gene editing experiments. First, we disrupted the endogenous pIAPP gene (3.0 % efficiency) by C-Check-validated TALENs in primary porcine fibroblasts (PPFs). Next, we achieved gene-editing efficiencies of 9.0-20.3 and 4.9 % when performing single- and double-gene targeting (MAPT and SORL1), respectively, in PPFs using C-Check-validated CRISPR/Cas9 vectors. Third, fluorescent tagging of endogenous genes (MYH6 and COL2A1, up to 10.0 % frequency) was achieved in human fibroblasts with C-Check-validated CRISPR/Cas9 vectors. We further demonstrated that the C-Check system could be applied to enrich for IGF1R null HEK293T cells and CBX5 null MCF-7 cells with frequencies of nearly 100.0 and 86.9 %, respectively. Most importantly, we further showed that the C-Check system is compatible with multiplexing and for studying CRISPR/Cas9 sgRNA specificity. The C-Check system may serve as an alternative dual-fluorescent surrogate tool for measuring DNA nuclease activity and enrichment of gene-edited cells, and may thereby aid in streamlining programmable DNA nuclease-mediated genome editing and biological research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Pages (from-to)2543-63
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Dual-fluorescent surrogate reporter
  • Gene targeting
  • Genome engineering
  • Homologous recombination
  • Single-strand annealing
  • TALENs


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