Aditya Singh and Prateek Bhatia*
Aim: To induce BCR-ABL gene silencing using CRISPR Cas13a.
Background: CML is a clonal myeloproliferative disorder of pluripotent stem cells driven by a reciprocal translocation between chromosome 9 and 22, forming a BCR-ABL fusion gene. Tyrosine-kinase inhibitor drugs like imatinib are the mainstay of treatment and cases resistant to these drugs have a poor prognosis in the absence of a compatible stem-cell donor. However, with rapid advancements in gene-editing technologies, most studies are now focusing on developing a translational model targeting single-gene disorders with a prospective permanent cure.
Objective: To explore the potential application of the RNA targeting CRISPR-Cas13a system for effective knockdown of BCR-ABL fusion transcript in a CML cell line, K562.
Method: CRISPR Cas13a crRNA was designed specific to the chimeric BCR-ABL gene and the system was transfected as a two-plasmid system into a CML cell line, K562. The effects were enumerated by evaluating the expression levels of downstream genes dependent on the expression of the BCR-ABL gene. Also, next-generation sequencing was used to ascertain the effects of CRISPR on the gene.
Results: The CRISPR system was successfully able to lower the expression of downstream genes [pCRKL and pCRK] dependent on the activated BCR-ABL kinase signal by up-to 4.3 folds. The viability of the CRISPR treated cells were also significantly lowered by 373.83-fold [p-value= 0.000891196]. The time-dependent kinetics also highlighted the significant in-vitro suppressive activity to last up to 8 weeks [p-value: 0.025]. As per the cDNA sequencing data from Oxford MinION next-generation sequencer, the CRISPR treated cells show 62.37% suspected cleaved reads.
Conclusion: These preliminary results highlight an excellent potential application of RNA targeting CRISPRs in Haematological neoplasms like CML and should pave way for further research in this direction.
CRISPR, oncology, molecular biology, hematology, RNA cleavage
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatric Centre, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatric Centre, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh