Functional genetic screens for enhancer elements in the human genome using CRISPR-Cas9

Gozde Korkmaz, Rui Lopes, Alejandro P. Ugalde, Ekaterina Nevedomskaya, Ruiqi Han, Ksenia Myacheva, Wilbert Zwart, Ran Elkon, Reuven Agami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systematic identification of noncoding regulatory elements has, to date, mainly relied on large-scale reporter assays that do not reproduce endogenous conditions. We present two distinct CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screens to identify and characterize functional enhancers in their native context. Our strategy is to target Cas9 to transcription factor binding sites in enhancer regions. We identified several functional enhancer elements and characterized the role of two of them in mediating p53 (TP53) and ERα (ESR1) gene regulation. Moreover, we show that a genomic CRISPR-Cas9 tiling screen can precisely map functional domains within enhancer elements. Our approach expands the utility of CRISPR-Cas9 to elucidate the functions of the noncoding genome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalNature biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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