CRISPR/Cas9 is a powerful genome editing tool, but its off-target cleavage activity can result in unintended adverse outcomes for therapeutic applications. Here we report the design of a simple tunable CRISPR controller in which a chemically inducible anti-CRISPR protein AcrIIA4 is engineered to disable Cas9 DNA binding upon the addition of trimethoprim. Dose-dependent control over Cas9 editing and dCas9 induction was achieved, which drastically improved the specificity and biosafety of the CRISPR/Cas9 system. We utilized the anti-CRISPR protein AcrIIA4 as a means to interfere with Cas9 DNA binding activity. By fusing AcrIIA4 to a ligand-inducible destabilization domain DHFR(DD), we show significantly reduced off-target activity in mammalian cells. Furthermore, we describe a new inducible promoter system Acr-OFF based on CRISPR controllers, which is regulated by an FDA-approved ligand trimethoprim.
- destabilization domains
- synthetic biology tools
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)