CRISPR/Cas9 engineering of albino cystinuria Type A mice

Genesis. 2020 May;58(5):e23357. doi: 10.1002/dvg.23357. Epub 2020 Feb 20.


Cystinuria Type A is a relatively common genetic kidney disease occurring in 1 in 7,000 people worldwide that results from mutation of the cystine transporter rBAT encoded by Slc3a1. We used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to engineer cystinuria Type A mice via genome editing of the C57BL/6NHsd background. These mice are an improvement on currently available models as they are on a coisogenic genetic background and have a single defined mutation. In order to use albinism to track Cas9 activity, we co-injected gRNAs targeting Slc3a1 and tyrosinase (Tyr) with Cas9 expressing plasmid DNA into mouse embryos. Two different Slc3a1 mutational alleles were derived, with homozygous mice of both demonstrating elevated urinary cystine levels, cystine crystals, and bladder stones. We used whole genome sequencing to evaluate for potential off-target editing. No off-target indels were observed for the top 10 predicted off-targets for Slc3a1 or Tyr. Therefore, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to generate coisogenic albino cystinuria Type A mice that could be used for in vivo imaging, further study, or developing new treatments of cystinuria.

Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9; albino; cystinuria; tyrosinase; urolithiasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Basic / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral / genetics*
  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • Cysteine / urine
  • Cystinuria / genetics*
  • Cystinuria / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mutation*


  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Basic
  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral
  • Slc3a1 protein, mouse
  • Cysteine

Supplementary concepts

  • Cystinuria, Type A