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Timing of CRISPR/Cas9-related mRNA microinjection after activation as an important factor affecting genome editing efficiency in porcine oocytes

Sato, Masahiro, Kosuke, Maeda, Koriyama, Miyu, Inada, Emi, Saitoh, Issei, Ohtsuka, Masato, Nakamura, Shingo, Sakurai, Takayuki, Watanabe, Satoshi, Miyoshi, Kazuchika
Theriogenology 2018 v.108 pp. 29-38
blastocyst, epitopes, gene editing, genes, gestation period, green fluorescent protein, messenger RNA, mutagenesis, oocytes, piglets, pronucleus, staining, transferases, zygote
Recently, successful one-step genome editing by microinjection of CRISPR/Cas9-related mRNA components into the porcine zygote has been described. Given the relatively long gestational period and the high cost of housing swine, the establishment of an effective microinjection-based porcine genome editing method is urgently required. Previously, we have attempted to disrupt a gene encoding α-1,3-galactosyltransferase (GGTA1), which synthesizes the α-Gal epitope, by microinjecting CRISPR/Cas9-related nucleic acids and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) mRNA into porcine oocytes immediately after electrical activation. We found that genome editing was indeed induced, although the resulting blastocysts were mosaic and the frequency of modified cells appeared to be low (50%). To improve genome editing efficiency in porcine oocytes, cytoplasmic injection was performed 6 h after electrical activation, a stage wherein the pronucleus is formed. The developing blastocysts exhibited higher levels of EGFP. Furthermore, the T7 endonuclease 1 assay and subsequent sequencing demonstrated that these embryos exhibited increased genome editing efficiencies (69%), although a high degree of mosaicism for the induced mutation was still observed. Single blastocyst-based cytochemical staining with fluorescently labeled isolectin BS-I-B4 also confirmed this mosaicism. Thus, the development of a technique that avoids or reduces such mosaicism would be a key factor for efficient knock out piglet production via microinjection.