Massively parallel knock-in engineering of human T cells

Nat Biotechnol. 2023 Sep;41(9):1239-1255. doi: 10.1038/s41587-022-01639-x. Epub 2023 Jan 26.


The efficiency of targeted knock-in for cell therapeutic applications is generally low, and the scale is limited. In this study, we developed CLASH, a system that enables high-efficiency, high-throughput knock-in engineering. In CLASH, Cas12a/Cpf1 mRNA combined with pooled adeno-associated viruses mediate simultaneous gene editing and precise transgene knock-in using massively parallel homology-directed repair, thereby producing a pool of stably integrated mutant variants each with targeted gene editing. We applied this technology in primary human T cells and performed time-coursed CLASH experiments in blood cancer and solid tumor models using CD3, CD8 and CD4 T cells, enabling pooled generation and unbiased selection of favorable CAR-T variants. Emerging from CLASH experiments, a unique CRISPR RNA (crRNA) generates an exon3 skip mutant of PRDM1 in CAR-Ts, which leads to increased proliferation, stem-like properties, central memory and longevity in these cells, resulting in higher efficacy in vivo across multiple cancer models, including a solid tumor model. The versatility of CLASH makes it broadly applicable to diverse cellular and therapeutic engineering applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins* / genetics
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics
  • Gene Editing* / methods
  • Humans
  • RNA


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA