Abstract #210

Section: Transgenesis
Session: Transgenesis
Format: Poster
Location: Rio Exhibit Hall B
# 210
K.-L. Lee*1, S. R. Lee2, A-N. Ha1, S.-H. Song1, M.-D. Joo1, M. M. R. Chowdhury1, L. Xu1, I. Khan1, J.-I. Jin1, Z. Wang2,4, I.-K. Kong1,3, 1Department of Animal Science, Division of Applied Life Science (BK21 Plus), Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Gyeongnam Province, Republic of Korea;, 2Department of Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA;, 3Institute of Agriculture and Life Science, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Gyeongnam Province, Republic of Korea;, 4Auratus Bio LLC, Canton, SD, USA.

The domestic cat (Felis catus) is a useful animal model for biomedical research because it shares many devastating diseases with humans. For example, feline immunodeficiency virus-1 is structurally and functionally similar to human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1). In vitro, the replication of HIV-1 in cat cells is restricted by the feline APOBEC3H (fA3H) and APOBEC3CH (fA3CH). Accordingly, we hypothesised that cats could be used to study HIV-1 infection in humans if fA3H and fA3CH were knocked out. However, due to limited availability of genomic editing tools in the cat, genetic modification has not been widely reported in this species. Here, we show that the fA3H/fA3CH locus could be knocked out in cat using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Taking advantage of the fact that the fA3H and fA3CH genes share their last four exons (exons 2–5 for fA3H and exons 5–8 for fA3CH), we PCR-amplified and analysed the partial sequence of fA3H and fA3CH and designed a single guide (sg) RNA targeting exon 3 of fA3H (exon 6 of fA3CH) to achieve double knockout of these 2 genes. After transfecting cells with a sgRNA/Cas9 expression DNA vector or co-transfecting the sgRNA along with Cas9 mRNA, which were prepared by in vitro transcription into cat embryonic fibroblast cells, in vitro gene-targeting analysis revealed that the CRISPR/Cas9 system could introduce indels with high efficiency: 23 and 41% of cat fibroblast cells were targeted in the fA3H/fA3CH locus when Cas9 was introduced in the DNA and mRNA forms, respectively. We chose to perform cytoplasmic microinjection injections 6 h post-IVF with 10 pL of injection solution containing 50 ng/µL for sgRNA and 100 ng/µL for Cas9 mRNA at a volume ratio of 1:1. We achieved a 95.5% embryo survival rate and a 22.9% blastocyst formation rate. High gene-targeting efficiency (62.5%, 15/24) from single blastocyst was achieved in targeting the fA3H/fA3CH locus by PCR-RFLP assay. We transferred 45 injected embryos to the uterine tubes of 4 pseudo-pregnant queens within 2 h of injection. Two of the recipients were determined to be pregnant by ultrasound on Day 30 after embryo transfer, and gave birth to 6 live kittens on Day 65. Genotyping analysis revealed that 2 kittens were successfully targeted in the fA3H/fA3CH locus: kitten 1 was biallelically targeted, whereas kitten 5 was monoallelically targeted. Sanger sequencing of the PCR products subcloned into TA cloning vectors showed that kitten 1 carried the same 1-nucleotide deletion on both alleles, and that kitten 5 also carried the same 1-nucleotide deletion monoallelically. Therefore, we conclude that the fA3H/fA3CH locus in the 2 kittens is specifically targeted by the CRISPR/Cas9 system. To our knowledge, this is the first report of successful site-specific genetic modification in the domestic cat achieved using the CRISPR/Cas9 system and the production of live fA3H/fA3CH double-knockout kittens to study the HIV-1 infected diseases.