Dynamics of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genomic editing of the AXL locus in hepatocellular carcinoma cells

  • Authors:
    • Irene Scharf
    • Lisa Bierbaumer
    • Heidemarie Huber
    • Philipp Wittmann
    • Christine Haider
    • Christine Pirker
    • Walter Berger
    • Wolfgang Mikulits
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: December 13, 2017     https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2017.7605
  • Pages: 2441-2450
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Abstract

Genomic editing using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology allows selective interference with gene expression. With this method, a multitude of haploid and diploid cells from different organisms have been employed to successfully generate knockouts of genes coding for proteins or small RNAs. Yet, cancer cells exhibiting an aberrant ploidy are considered to be less accessible to CRISPR/Cas9‑mediated genomic editing, as amplifications of the targeted gene locus could hamper its effectiveness. Here we examined the suitability of CRISPR/Cas9 to knockout the receptor tyrosine kinase Axl in the human hepatoma cell lines HLF and SNU449. The genomic editing events were validated in two single cell clones each from putative HLF and SNU449 knockout cells (HLF‑Axl-‑1, HLF‑Axl‑‑2, SNU449‑Axl-‑1, SNU449‑Axl‑‑2). Sequence analysis of respective AXL loci revealed one to six editing events in each individual Axl‑ clone. The majority of insertions and deletions in the AXL gene at exon 7/8 resulted in a frameshift and thus a premature stop in the coding region. However, one genomic editing event led to an insertion of two amino acids resulting in an altered protein sequence rather than in a frameshift in the AXL locus of the SNU449‑Axl‑‑1 cells. Notably, while no Axl protein expression could be detected by immunoblotting in all four cell clones, both expression of total Axl as well as release of soluble Axl into the supernatant was observed by ELISA in incompletely edited SNU449‑Axl‑‑1 cells. Importantly, a comparative genomic hybridization array revealed comparable genomic changes in Axl knockout cells as well as in cells expressing Cas9 nickase without guide RNAs in SNU449 and HLF cells, indicating vast alterations in genomic DNA triggered by nickase. Together, these data show that the dynamics of CRISPR/Cas9 may cause incomplete editing events in cancer cell lines, as gene copy numbers vary based on genomic heterogeneity.

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February 2018
Volume 15 Issue 2

Print ISSN: 1792-1074
Online ISSN:1792-1082

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APA
Scharf, I., Bierbaumer, L., Huber, H., Wittmann, P., Haider, C., Pirker, C. ... Mikulits, W. (2018). Dynamics of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genomic editing of the AXL locus in hepatocellular carcinoma cells . Oncology Letters, 15, 2441-2450. https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2017.7605
MLA
Scharf, I., Bierbaumer, L., Huber, H., Wittmann, P., Haider, C., Pirker, C., Berger, W., Mikulits, W."Dynamics of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genomic editing of the AXL locus in hepatocellular carcinoma cells ". Oncology Letters 15.2 (2018): 2441-2450.
Chicago
Scharf, I., Bierbaumer, L., Huber, H., Wittmann, P., Haider, C., Pirker, C., Berger, W., Mikulits, W."Dynamics of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genomic editing of the AXL locus in hepatocellular carcinoma cells ". Oncology Letters 15, no. 2 (2018): 2441-2450. https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2017.7605