Background & aims: Despite advances in gene editing technologies, generation of tissue-specific knockout mice is time-consuming. We used CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing to disrupt genes in livers of adult mice in just a few months, which we refer to as somatic liver knockouts.
Methods: In this system, Fah-/- mice are given hydrodynamic tail vein injections of plasmids carrying CRISPR/Cas9 designed to excise exons in Hpd; the Hpd-edited hepatocytes have a survival advantage in these mice. Plasmids that target Hpd and a separate gene of interest can therefore be used to rapidly generate mice with liver-specific deletion of nearly any gene product.
Results: We used this system to create mice with liver-specific knockout of argininosuccinate lyase, which develop hyperammonemia, observed in humans with mutations in this gene. We also created mice with liver-specific knockout of ATP binding cassette subfamily B member 11, which encodes the bile salt export pump. We found that these mice have a biochemical phenotype similar to that of Abcb11-/- mice. We then used this system to knock out expression of 5 different enzymes involved in drug metabolism within the same mouse.
Conclusions: This approach might be used to develop new models of liver diseases and study liver functions of genes that are required during development.
Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9; Liver Gene Knockout; Mouse Models; SLiK.
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