The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology

Live-cell CRISPR imaging in plants reveals dynamic telomere movements.

PMID 28509419


Elucidating the spatiotemporal organization of the genome inside the nucleus is imperative to our understanding of the regulation of genes and non-coding sequences during development and environmental changes. Emerging techniques of chromatin imaging promise to bridge the long-standing gap between sequencing studies, which reveal genomic information, and imaging studies that provide spatial and temporal information of defined genomic regions. Here, we demonstrate such an imaging technique based on two orthologues of the bacterial clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR associated protein 9 (Cas9). By fusing eGFP/mRuby2 to catalytically inactive versions of Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus Cas9, we show robust visualization of telomere repeats in live leaf cells of Nicotiana benthamiana. By tracking the dynamics of telomeres visualized by CRISPR-dCas9, we reveal dynamic telomere movements of up to 2xa0μm over 30xa0min during interphase. Furthermore, we show that CRISPR-dCas9 can be combined with fluorescence-labelled proteins to visualize DNA-protein interactions inxa0vivo. By simultaneously using two dCas9 orthologues, we pave the way for the imaging of multiple genomic loci in live plants cells. CRISPR imaging bears the potential to significantly improve our understanding of the dynamics of chromosomes in live plant cells.