A versatile toolbox for knock-in gene targeting based on the Multisite Gateway technology

PLoS One. 2019 Aug 27;14(8):e0221164. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221164. eCollection 2019.


Knock-in (KI) gene targeting can be employed for a wide range of applications in stem cell research. However, vectors for KI require multiple complicated processes for construction, including multiple times of digestion/ligation steps and extensive restriction mapping, which has imposed limitations for the robust applicability of KI gene targeting. To circumvent this issue, here we introduce versatile and systematic methods for generating KI vectors by molecular cloning. In this approach, we employed the Multisite Gateway technology, an efficient in vitro DNA recombination system using proprietary sequences and enzymes. KI vector construction exploiting these methods requires only efficient steps, such as PCR and recombination, enabling robust KI gene targeting. We show that combinatorial usage of the KI vectors generated using this method and site-specific nucleases enabled the precise integration of fluorescent protein genes in multiple loci of human and common marmoset (marmoset; Callithrix jacchus) pluripotent stem cells. The methods described here will facilitate the usage of KI technology and ultimately help to accelerate stem cell research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Callithrix / genetics
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • DNA, Recombinant / genetics*
  • Deoxyribonucleases / genetics
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques / methods*
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Stem Cell Research


  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Deoxyribonucleases

Grant support

Data presented herein were generated during the “Construction of System for Spread of Primate Model Animals” project, performed under the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences and Brain Mapping by Integrated Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies (Brain/MINDS) of the MEXT and the AMED (to H.O. and S. S.); and Scientific Research in Innovative Areas, a MEXT Grant-in-Aid project FY2014-2018 “Brain Protein Aging and Dementia Control” (to H.O.). This work was financially supported by Grant Number 15K06924 from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to T.S. Also, S.Y. was supported by RIKEN Junior Research Associate Program.