Engineering inducible biomolecular assemblies for genome imaging and manipulation in living cells

Qin Peng, Ziliang Huang, Kun Sun, Yahan Liu, Chi Woo Yoon, Reed E.S. Harrison, Danielle L. Schmitt, Linshan Zhu, Yiqian Wu, Ipek Tasan, Huimin Zhao, Jin Zhang, Sheng Zhong, Shu Chien, Yingxiao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genome architecture and organization play critical roles in cell life. However, it remains largely unknown how genomic loci are dynamically coordinated to regulate gene expression and determine cell fate at the single cell level. We have developed an inducible system which allows Simultaneous Imaging and Manipulation of genomic loci by Biomolecular Assemblies (SIMBA) in living cells. In SIMBA, the human heterochromatin protein 1α (HP1α) is fused to mCherry and FRB, which can be induced to form biomolecular assemblies (BAs) with FKBP-scFv, guided to specific genomic loci by a nuclease-defective Cas9 (dCas9) or a transcriptional factor (TF) carrying tandem repeats of SunTag. The induced BAs can not only enhance the imaging signals at target genomic loci using a single sgRNA, either at repetitive or non-repetitive sequences, but also recruit epigenetic modulators such as histone methyltransferase SUV39H1 to locally repress transcription. As such, SIMBA can be applied to simultaneously visualize and manipulate, in principle, any genomic locus with controllable timing in living cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7933
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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