A team of Bionano’s brightest scientists published an exciting new labeling method based on CRISPR/dCas9 binding which we cleverly coined CRISPR-bind. It uses a non-cutting version of Cas9 to hybridize a fluorescently labeled gRNA onto genomic DNA lab labeled with Bionano’s DLS or NLRS methods. A Drexel university team had previously published a CRISPR-based labeling method for Bionano that used a nicking version of Cas9 followed by standard label, repair and stain, but the new CRISPR-bind is easier, faster, more robust and doesn’t break the DNA. The dCas9 is small enough to fit into the nanochannels, so the protocol after labeling with DLE-1 or NRL is simply bind, stain, load.
CRISPR-bind can help identify off-target effects of CRISPR genome editing by labeling alternative binding sites in the genome, or any target genomic element of choice. It could also improve on things Bionano does already, like track transgenes in cell cultures or animals, viral integration sites in cancer research, or mobile elements like retrotransposons.
The simple protocol can be found in the bioRxiv paper.