Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 screens enable virus-host genetic screens to be undertaken in a more robust manner than previously possible and has had a tremendous impact in the field of virus study. Researchers can take advantage of the power of CRISPR genetic screens to discover virus-host interaction genes including host receptors and signaling molecules (Bazzone et al., mBio 10 (1): e02734-18, 2019; E et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116(14):7043-7052, 2019; McDougall et al., Curr Opin Virol 29:87-100, 2018; Savidis et al., Cell Rep 16(1):232-246, 2016). In principle, lysis of cells late in the virus infection cycle allows one to screen for essential genes using pooled single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) that collective target an entire host cell genome simply by identifying mutant cells that are resistant to virus-induced cell death. Here we focus on using this technique on epithelial cells to identify host targets required for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection.
Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9 screening; HCMV; Human cytomegalovirus; Method; Primary epithelial cells.