CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing has transformed biotechnology and therapeutics. However, in vivo applications of some Cas9s are hindered by large size (limiting delivery by adeno-associated virus [AAV] vectors), off-target editing, or complex protospacer-adjacent motifs (PAMs) that restrict the density of recognition sequences in target DNA. Here, we exploited natural variation in the PAM-interacting domains (PIDs) of closely related Cas9s to identify a compact ortholog from Neisseria meningitidis-Nme2Cas9-that recognizes a simple dinucleotide PAM (N4CC) that provides for high target site density. All-in-one AAV delivery of Nme2Cas9 with a guide RNA targeting Pcsk9 in adult mouse liver produces efficient genome editing and reduced serum cholesterol with exceptionally high specificity. We further expand our single-AAV platform to pre-implanted zygotes for streamlined generation of genome-edited mice. Nme2Cas9 combines all-in-one AAV compatibility, exceptional editing accuracy within cells, and high target site density for in vivo genome editing applications.
Keywords: CRISPR; Neisseria; Nme2Cas9; PAM-interacting domain; adeno-associated virus; anti-CRISPR; off-target; protospacer adjacent motif; sgRNA.
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