Highly efficient CRISPR-Cas9-mediated editing identifies novel mechanosensitive microRNA-140 targets in primary human articular chondrocytes.
Chaudhry N., Muhammad H., Seidl C., Downes D., Young DA., Hao Y., Zhu L., Vincent TL.
OBJECTIVE: MicroRNA 140 (miR-140) is a chondrocyte-specific endogenous gene regulator implicated in osteoarthritis (OA). As mechanical injury is a primary aetiological factor in OA, we investigated miR-140-dependent mechanosensitive gene regulation using a novel CRISPR-Cas9 methodology in primary human chondrocytes. METHOD: Primary (passage 1/2) human OA chondrocytes were isolated from arthroplasty samples (six donors) and transfected with ribonuclear protein complexes or plasmids using single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) targeting miR-140, in combination with Cas9 endonuclease. Combinations of sgRNAs and single/double transfections were tested. Gene editing was measured by T7 endonuclease 1 (T7E1) assay. miRNA levels were confirmed by qPCR in chondrocytes and in wild type murine femoral head cartilage after acute injury. Predicted close match off-targets were examined. Mechanosensitive miR-140 target validation was assessed in 42 injury-associated genes using TaqMan Microfluidic cards in targeted and donor-matched control chondrocytes. Identified targets were examined in RNAseq data from costal chondrocytes from miR-140-/- mice. RESULTS: High efficiency gene editing of miR-140 (90-98%) was obtained when two sgRNAs were combined with double RNP-mediated CRISPR-Cas9 transfection. miR-140 levels fell rapidly after femoral cartilage injury. Of the top eight miR-140 gene targets identified (P