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CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockin in the hydroid Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus

By Steven M. Sanders, Zhiwei Ma, Julia M. Hughes, Brooke M. Riscoe, Gregory A. Gibson, Alan M. Watson, Hakima Flici, Uri Frank, Christine E. Schnitzler, Andreas D. Baxevanis and Matthew L. Nicotra


Abstract Background Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, a colonial cnidarian, is a tractable model system for many cnidarian-specific and general biological questions. Until recently, tests of gene function in Hydractinia have relied on laborious forward genetic approaches, randomly integrated transgenes, or transient knockdown of mRNAs. Results Here, we report the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to generate targeted genomic insertions in H. symbiolonigcarpus. We used CRISPR/Cas9 to promote homologous recombination of two fluorescent reporters, eGFP and tdTomato, into the Eukaryotic elongation factor 1 alpha (Eef1a) locus. We demonstrate that the transgenes are expressed ubiquitously and are stable over two generations of breeding. We further demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing can be used to mark endogenous proteins with FLAG or StrepII-FLAG affinity tags to enable in vivo and ex vivo protein studies. Conclusions This is the first account of CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockins in Hydractinia and the first example of the germline transmission of a CRISPR/Cas9 inserted transgene in a cnidarian. The ability to precisely insert exogenous DNA into the Hydractinia genome will enable sophisticated genetic studies and further development of functional genomics tools in this understudied cnidarian model

Topics: Genome editing, Immunohistochemistry, Cnidaria, Invertebrate, Model organism, Transgenic, Biotechnology, TP248.13-248.65, Genetics, QH426-470
Publisher: BMC
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s12864-018-5032-z
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