Determinants for efficient editing with cas9-mediated recombineering in Escherichia coli

Alaksh Choudhury, Reilly G. Fankhauser, Emily F. Freed, Eun Joong Oh, Andrew B. Morgenthaler, Marcelo C. Bassalo, Shelley D. Copley, Joel L. Kaar, Ryan T. Gill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In E. coli, editing efficiency with Cas9-mediated recombineering varies across targets due to differences in the level of Cas9:gRNA-mediated DNA double-strand break (DSB)-induced cell death. We found that editing efficiency with the same gRNA and repair template can also change with target position, cas9 promoter strength, and growth conditions. Incomplete editing, off-target activity, nontargeted mutations, and failure to cleave target DNA even if Cas9 is bound also compromise editing efficiency. These effects on editing efficiency were gRNA-specific. We propose that differences in the efficiency of Cas9:gRNA-mediated DNA DSBs, as well as possible differences in binding of Cas9:gRNA complexes to their target sites, account for the observed variations in editing efficiency between gRNAs. We show that editing behavior using the same gRNA can be modified by mutating the gRNA spacer, which changes the DNA DSB activity. Finally, we discuss how variable editing with different gRNAs could limit high-throughput applications and provide strategies to overcome these limitations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1083-1099
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • CRISPR-cas
  • Genome diting
  • Off-target activity
  • Recombineering
  • Repair failure


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