Identification of Novel Regulatory Genes in APAP Induced Hepatocyte Toxicity by a Genome-Wide CRISPR-Cas9 Screen

Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 4;9(1):1396. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37940-6.


Acetaminophen (APAP) is a commonly used analgesic responsible for more than half of acute liver failure cases. Identification of previously unknown genetic risk factors would provide mechanistic insights and novel therapeutic targets for APAP-induced liver injury. This study used a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen to evaluate genes that are protective against, or cause susceptibility to, APAP-induced liver injury. HuH7 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells containing CRISPR-Cas9 gene knockouts were treated with 15 mM APAP for 30 minutes to 4 days. A gene expression profile was developed based on the 1) top screening hits, 2) overlap of expression data from APAP overdose studies, and 3) predicted affected biological pathways. We further demonstrated the implementation of intermediate time points for the identification of early and late response genes. This study illustrated the power of a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen to systematically identify novel genes involved in APAP-induced hepatotoxicity and to provide potential targets to develop novel therapeutic modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Associated Protein 9 / metabolism*
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Databases as Topic
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Hepatocytes / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Acetaminophen
  • CRISPR-Associated Protein 9