Targeted Mutagenesis in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) Using the CRISPR/Cas9 System Induces Complete Knockout Individuals in the F0 Generation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEdvardsen RB, Leininger S, Kleppe L, Skaftnesmo KO, Wargelius A (2014) Targeted Mutagenesis in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) Using the CRISPR/Cas9 System Induces Complete Knockout Individuals in the F0 Generation. PLoS ONE 9(9): e108622. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108622 10.1371/journal.pone.0108622
Understanding the biological function behind key proteins is of great concern in Atlantic salmon, both due to a high commercial importance and an interesting life history. Until recently, functional studies in salmonids appeared to be difficult. However, the recent discovery of targeted mutagenesis using the CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated) system enables performing functional studies in Atlantic salmon to a great extent. We used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to target two genes involved in pigmentation, tyrosinase (tyr) and solute carrier family 45, member 2 (slc45a2). Embryos were assayed for mutation rates at the 17 somite stage, where 40 and 22% of all injected embryos showed a high degree of mutation induction for slc45a2 and tyr, respectively. At hatching this mutation frequency was also visible for both targeted genes, displaying a graded phenotype ranging from complete lack of pigmentation to partial loss and normal pigmentation. CRISPRslc45a2/Cas9 injected embryos showing a complete lack of pigmentation or just a few spots of pigments also lacked wild type sequences when assaying more than 80 (slc45a2) sequence clones from whole embryos. This indicates that CRISPR/Cas9 can induce double-allelic knockout in the F0 generation. However, types and frequency of indels might affect the phenotype. Therefore, the variation of indels was assayed in the graded pigmentation phenotypes produced by CRISPR/Cas9-slc45a2. The results show a tendency for fewer types of indels formed in juveniles completely lacking pigmentation compared to juveniles displaying partial pigmentation. Another interesting observation was a high degree of the same indel type in different juveniles. This study shows for the first time successful use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in a marine cold water species. Targeted double-allelic mutations were obtained and, though the level of mosaicism has to be considered, we demonstrate that F0 fish can be used for functional studies in Atlantic salmon.