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Maresch, Roman; Mueller, Sebastian; Veltkamp, Christian; Öllinger, Rupert; Friedrich, Mathias; Heid, Irina; Steiger, Katja; Weber, Julia; Engleitner, Thomas; Barenboim, Maxim; Klein, Sabine; Louzada, Sandra; Banerjee, Ruby; Strong, Alexander; Stauber, Teresa; Gross, Nina; Geumann, Ulf; Lange, Sebastian; Ringelhan, Marc; Varela, Ignacio; Unger, Kristian; Yang, Fengtang; Schmid, Roland M.; Vassiliou, George S.; Braren, Rickmer; Schneider, Günter; Heikenwalder, Mathias; Bradley, Allan; Saur, Dieter and Rad, Roland (2016): Multiplexed pancreatic genome engineering and cancer induction by transfection-based CRISPR/Cas9 delivery in mice. In: Nature Communications, Vol. 7, 10770 [PDF, 2MB]

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Mouse transgenesis has provided fundamental insights into pancreatic cancer, but is limited by the long duration of allele/model generation. Here we show transfection-based multiplexed delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 to the pancreas of adult mice, allowing simultaneous editing of multiple gene sets in individual cells. We use the method to induce pancreatic cancer and exploit CRISPR/Cas9 mutational signatures for phylogenetic tracking of metastatic disease. Our results demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9-multiplexing enables key applications, such as combinatorial gene-network analysis, in vivo synthetic lethality screening and chromosome engineering. Negative-selection screening in the pancreas using multiplexed-CRISPR/Cas9 confirms the vulnerability of pancreatic cells to Brca2-inactivation in a Kras-mutant context. We also demonstrate modelling of chromosomal deletions and targeted somatic engineering of inter-chromosomal translocations, offering multifaceted opportunities to study complex structural variation, a hallmark of pancreatic cancer. The low-frequency mosaic pattern of transfection-based CRISPR/Cas9 delivery faithfully recapitulates the stochastic nature of human tumorigenesis, supporting wide applicability for biological/preclinical research.

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