CRISPR RNAs trigger innate immune responses in human cells
- Kim, Sojung; Koo, Taeyoung; Jee, Hyeon-Gun; Cho, Hee-Yeon; Lee, Gyeorae; Lim, Dong-Gyun; Shin, Hyoung Shik; Kim, Jin-Soo
- Issue Date
- Genome Research, Vol.28 No.3, pp.367-373
- Here, we report that CRISPR guide RNAs (gRNAs) with a 5'-triphosphate group (5'-ppp gRNAs) produced via in vitro transcription trigger RNA-sensing innate immune responses in human and murine cells, leading to cytotoxicity. 5'-ppp gRNAs in the cytosol are recognized by DDX58, which in turn activates type I interferon responses, causing up to similar to 80% cell death. We show that the triphosphate group can be removed by a phosphatase in vitro and that the resulting St-hydroxyl gRNAs in complex with Cas9 or Cpfl avoid innate immune responses and can achieve targeted mutagenesis at a frequency of 95% in primary human CD4(+) T cells. These results are in line with previous findings that chemically synthesized sgRNAs with a 5'-hydroxyl group are much more efficient than in vitro-transcribed (IVT) sgRNAs in human and other mammalian cells. The phosphatase treatment of IVT sgRNAs is a cost-effective method for making highly active sgRNAs, avoiding innate immune responses in human cells.