The Neisseria meningitidis CRISPR-Cas9 System Enables Specific Genome Editing in Mammalian Cells
Lee, Ciaran M.; Cradick, Thomas J.; Bao, Gang
The clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)—CRISPR-associated (Cas) system from Streptococcus pyogenes (Spy) has been successfully adapted for RNA-guided genome editing in a wide range of organisms. However, numerous reports have indicated that Spy CRISPR-Cas9 systems may have significant off-target cleavage of genomic DNA sequences differing from the intended on-target site. Here, we report the performance of the Neisseria meningitidis (Nme) CRISPR-Cas9 system that requires a longer protospacer-adjacent motif for site-specific cleavage, and present a comparison between the Spy and Nme CRISPR-Cas9 systems targeting the same protospacer sequence. The results with the native crRNA and tracrRNA as well as a chimeric single guide RNA for the Nme CRISPR-Cas9 system were also compared. Our results suggest that, compared with the Spy system, the Nme CRISPR-Cas9 system has similar or lower on-target cleavage activity but a reduced overall off-target effect on a genomic level when sites containing three or fewer mismatches are considered. Thus, the Nme CRISPR-Cas9 system may represent a safer alternative for precision genome engineering applications.