Engineered extracellular vesicles as versatile ribonucleoprotein delivery vehicles for efficient and safe CRISPR genome editing

J Extracell Vesicles. 2021 Mar;10(5):e12076. doi: 10.1002/jev2.12076. Epub 2021 Mar 16.


Transient delivery of CRISPR-based genome editing effectors is important to reduce off-target effects and immune responses. Recently extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been explored for Cas9 ribonucleoprotein (RNP) delivery. However, lack of mechanisms to enrich RNPs into EVs limited the efficiency of EVs as a RNP delivery vehicle. Here we describe a mechanism to actively enrich RNPs into EVs. We used the specific interaction between RNA aptamer and aptamer-binding protein (ABP) to enrich RNPs into EVs. We inserted RNA aptamer com into single guide RNA (sgRNA), and fused com-binding ABP Com to both termini of tetraspan protein CD63 that is abundant in exosomes. We found that the Com/com interaction enriched Cas9 and adenine base editor (ABE) RNPs into EVs, via forming a three-component complex including CD63-Com fusion protein, com-modified sgRNA and Cas9 or ABE. The RNP enriched EVs are efficient in genome editing and transiently expressed. The system is capable of delivering RNPs targeting multiple loci for multiplex genome editing. In addition, Cas9 from different species can be used together. The EV-delivered RNPs are active in vivo. The data show that the aptamer and ABP interactions can be utilized to actively enrich RNPs into EVs for improved genome editing efficiency and safety.

Keywords: CD63; CRISPR/Cas9; adenine base editor; aptamer; aptamer‐binding protein; delivery; extracellular vesicle; ribonucleoprotein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Engineering*
  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats*
  • Extracellular Vesicles*
  • Female
  • Gene Editing / methods*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles*
  • Ribonucleoproteins*
  • Tetraspanin 30 / genetics


  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Tetraspanin 30