An optimized crispr/cas9 approach for precise genome editing in neurons

Huaqiang Fang, Alexei M. Bygrave, Richard H. Roth, Richard C. Johnson, Richard L. Huganir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The efficient knock-in of large DNA fragments to label endogenous proteins remains especially challenging in non-dividing cells such as neurons. We developed Targeted Knock-In with Two (TKIT) guides as a novel CRISPR/Cas9 based approach for efficient, and precise, genomic knock-in. Through targeting non-coding regions TKIT is resistant to INDEL mutations. We demonstrate TKIT labeling of endogenous synaptic proteins with various tags, with efficiencies up to 42% in mouse primary cultured neurons. Utilizing in utero electroporation or viral injections in mice TKIT can label AMPAR subunits with Super Ecliptic pHluorin, enabling visualization of endogenous AMPARs in vivo using two-photon microscopy. We further use TKIT to assess the mobility of endogenous AMPARs using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Finally, we show that TKIT can be used to tag AMPARs in rat neurons, demonstrating precise genome editing in another model organism and highlighting the broad potential of TKIT as a method to visualize endogenous proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere65202
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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