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MiCas9 increases large size gene knock-in rates and reduces undesirable on-target and off-target indel edits
Nature Communications  (IF14.919),  Pub Date : 2020-11-27, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19842-2
Linyuan Ma, Jinxue Ruan, Jun Song, Luan Wen, Dongshan Yang, Jiangyang Zhao, Xiaofeng Xia, Y. Eugene Chen, Jifeng Zhang, Jie Xu

Gene editing nuclease represented by Cas9 efficiently generates DNA double strand breaks at the target locus, followed by repair through either the error-prone non-homologous end joining or the homology directed repair pathways. To improve Cas9’s homology directed repair capacity, here we report the development of miCas9 by fusing a minimal motif consisting of thirty-six amino acids to spCas9. MiCas9 binds RAD51 through this fusion motif and enriches RAD51 at the target locus. In comparison to spCas9, miCas9 enhances double-stranded DNA mediated large size gene knock-in rates, systematically reduces off-target insertion and deletion events, maintains or increases single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides mediated precise gene editing rates, and effectively reduces on-target insertion and deletion rates in knock-in applications. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this fusion motif can work as a “plug and play” module, compatible and synergistic with other Cas9 variants. MiCas9 and the minimal fusion motif may find broad applications in gene editing research and therapeutics.