Current protocols in neuroscience

CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Gene Knockout in the Mouse Brain Using In Utero Electroporation.

PMID 28398645


This unit describes a highly efficient and rapid procedure for brain-specific disruption of genes in the developing mouse brain using pX330 plasmids expressing humanized Cas9 and single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) against target genes. The pX330 plasmids are delivered into the rodent brain using in utero electroporation. Focusing on the Satb2 gene, which encodes an AT-rich DNA-binding transcription factor, we found that the introduction of pX330-Satb2 induced insertion/deletion (indel) mutations near the predicted cleavage site in the Satb2 gene, resulting in a dramatic reduction of Satb2 expression in post-mitotic neurons. Moreover, introduction of pX330-Satb2 induced abnormalities in axonal projection patterns, which was consistent with the phenotypes observed in Satb2 mutant mice. Thus, the procedure described here, combining the CRISPR/Cas9 system and in utero electroporation, is useful for knocking out genes of interest in the living rodent brain. © 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.