Scientific reports

A Convenient Cas9-based Conditional Knockout Strategy for Simultaneously Targeting Multiple Genes in Mouse.

PMID 28364122


The most powerful way to probe protein function is to characterize the consequence of its deletion. Compared to conventional gene knockout (KO), conditional knockout (cKO) provides an advanced gene targeting strategy with which gene deletion can be performed in a spatially and temporally restricted manner. However, for most species that are amphiploid, the widely used Cre-flox conditional KO (cKO) system would need targeting loci in both alleles to be loxP flanked, which in practice, requires time and labor consuming breeding. This is considerably significant when one is dealing with multiple genes. CRISPR/Cas9 genome modulation system is advantaged in its capability in targeting multiple sites simultaneously. Here we propose a strategy that could achieve conditional KO of multiple genes in mouse with Cre recombinase dependent Cas9 expression. By transgenic construction of loxP-stop-loxP (LSL) controlled Cas9 (LSL-Cas9) together with sgRNAs targeting EGFP, we showed that the fluorescence molecule could be eliminated in a Cre-dependent manner. We further verified the efficacy of this novel strategy to target multiple sites by deleting c-Maf and MafB simultaneously in macrophages specifically. Compared to the traditional Cre-flox cKO strategy, this sgRNAs-LSL-Cas9 cKO system is simpler and faster, and would make conditional manipulation of multiple genes feasible.