The influence of eukaryotic chromatin state on CRISPR-Cas9 editing efficiencies

Marianne G Rots, Sebald An Verkuijl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)
509 Downloads (Pure)


CRISPR/Cas technologies have rapidly become in routine use for site-directed genetic or transcriptional manipulation. Despite this, the efficiency of CRISPR/Cas9 functioning cannot entirely be predicted, and it is not fully understood which factors contribute to this variability. Recent studies indicate that heterochromatin can negatively affect Cas9 binding and functioning. Investigating chromatin factors indicates that DNA cytosine-5 methylation does not directly block Cas9 binding. Nucleosomes, however, can completely block Cas9 access to DNA in cell-free assays and present a substantial hurdle in vivo. In addition to being associated with an open chromatin state, active transcription can directly stimulate DNA cleavage by influencing Cas9 release rates in a strand-specific manner. With these insights and a better understanding of genome-wide chromatin and transcription states, CRISPR/Cas9 effectiveness and reliability can be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-73
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2019

Cite this