SapTrap, a Toolkit for High-Throughput CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Modification in Caenorhabditis elegans. Academic Article uri icon


  • In principle, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 allows genetic tags to be inserted at any locus. However, throughput is limited by the laborious construction of repair templates and guide RNA constructs and by the identification of modified strains. We have developed a reagent toolkit and plasmid assembly pipeline, called "SapTrap," that streamlines the production of targeting vectors for tag insertion, as well as the selection of modified Caenorhabditis elegans strains. SapTrap is a high-efficiency modular plasmid assembly pipeline that produces single plasmid targeting vectors, each of which encodes both a guide RNA transcript and a repair template for a particular tagging event. The plasmid is generated in a single tube by cutting modular components with the restriction enzyme SapI, which are then "trapped" in a fixed order by ligation to generate the targeting vector. A library of donor plasmids supplies a variety of protein tags, a selectable marker, and regulatory sequences that allow cell-specific tagging at either the N or the C termini. All site-specific sequences, such as guide RNA targeting sequences and homology arms, are supplied as annealed synthetic oligonucleotides, eliminating the need for PCR or molecular cloning during plasmid assembly. Each tag includes an embedded Cbr-unc-119 selectable marker that is positioned to allow concurrent expression of both the tag and the marker. We demonstrate that SapTrap targeting vectors direct insertion of 3- to 4-kb tags at six different loci in 10-37% of injected animals. Thus SapTrap vectors introduce the possibility for high-throughput generation of CRISPR/Cas9 genome modifications.

publication date

  • April 2016