A fly model establishes distinct mechanisms for synthetic CRISPR/Cas9 sex distorters

Autoři: Barbara Fasulo aff001;  Angela Meccariello aff001;  Maya Morgan aff001;  Carl Borufka aff001;  Philippos Aris Papathanos aff002;  Nikolai Windbichler aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, South Kensington Campus, London, United Kingdom aff001;  Department of Entomology, Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: A fly model establishes distinct mechanisms for synthetic CRISPR/Cas9 sex distorters. PLoS Genet 16(3): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008647
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008647


Synthetic sex distorters have recently been developed in the malaria mosquito, relying on endonucleases that target the X-chromosome during spermatogenesis. Although inspired by naturally-occurring traits, it has remained unclear how they function and, given their potential for genetic control, how portable this strategy is across species. We established Drosophila models for two distinct mechanisms for CRISPR/Cas9 sex-ratio distortion—“X-shredding” and “X-poisoning”—and dissected their target-site requirements and repair dynamics. X-shredding resulted in sex distortion when Cas9 endonuclease activity occurred during the meiotic stages of spermatogenesis but not when Cas9 was expressed from the stem cell stages onwards. Our results suggest that X-shredding is counteracted by the NHEJ DNA repair pathway and can operate on a single repeat cluster of non-essential sequences, although the targeting of a number of such repeats had no effect on the sex ratio. X-poisoning by contrast, i.e. targeting putative haplolethal genes on the X chromosome, induced a high bias towards males (>92%) when we directed Cas9 cleavage to the X-linked ribosomal target gene RpS6. In the case of X-poisoning sex distortion was coupled to a loss in reproductive output, although a dominant-negative effect appeared to drive the mechanism of female lethality. These model systems will guide the study and the application of sex distorters to medically or agriculturally important insect target species.

Klíčová slova:

DNA repair – Drosophila melanogaster – Embryos – Guide RNA – Invertebrate genomics – Repeated sequences – X chromosomes – X-linked traits


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