Poster Presentation 14th Lorne Infection and Immunity 2024

A fluorescence-based system for screening CRISPR-Cas13 efficacy and collateral effects. (#127)

Sudip Dhakal 1 , Arjun Challagulla 1 , James Wynne 2 , Kristie Jenkins 1
  1. CSIRO, East Geelong, VIC, Australia
  2. CSIRO, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

With advancements in the CRISPR-Cas13 technologies, it has been possible to precisely target specific RNA for knocking it down to supress the gene expression or to edit the bases as per the requirement. However, one of the major concerns in using Cas13 as an RNA targeting enzyme has been its collateral effect on other RNAs that come in its close vicinity when activated. In addition, as the metagenomic discovery of various Cas13 proteins have been rapidly identifying hundreds of Cas13 proteins, it is imperative to have a rapid Cas13 screening platform which can assist in comparing the efficiency and off target effects. In order to address such issue, a three-fluorescent protein-based system has been developed and tested for some variants of Cas13 proteins. As the system is based on fluorescent proteins, the fluorescence imaging and quantifying methods have been employed to visualize the data. In this system, red fluorescent protein (miRFP670nano) was used as a marker for Cas13 expression, blue fluorescent protein (mTagBFP2) as gRNA expression marker and the green fluorescent protein (eGFP) as the target for Cas13. The blue and the red fluorescent proteins also provide information on off target or collateral effect of the Cas13 enzyme. The poster will present an example evaluation of the efficacy and collateral effects of a Cas13 variant and shows how this system can be exploited to characterize the Cas13 proteins rapidly and effectively.