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White adipose tissue (WAT) is a complex organ that plays a central role in systemic energy balance through its interrelated metabolic, endocrine, and immune functions. Adipocytes, the parenchymal cells of adipose tissue, have diverse functions that include storage and mobilization of lipids. They also release endocrine signals that report energy status to the brain, regulating metabolic functions in peripheral organs. Importantly, the metabolic character of white adipocytes is flexible, with cells capable of assuming distinct anabolic and catabolic/thermogenic phenotypes, often within the same adipose tissue depot

Elizabeth A. Rondini, Vanesa D. Ramseyer, Rayanne B. Burl, Roger Pique-Regi, James G. Granneman

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Current Issue

Tissue-specific expression of Cas9 has no impact on whole-body metabolism in four transgenic mouse lines

Simon T. Bond, Aowen Zhuang, Christine Yang, Eleanor A.M. Gould, ... Brian G. Drew

Objective

CRISPR/Cas9 technology has revolutionized gene editing and fast tracked our capacity to manipulate genes of interest for the benefit of both research and therapeutic applications. Whilst many advances have, and continue to be made in this area, perhaps the most utilized technology to date has been the generation of knockout cells, tissues and animals. The advantages of this technology are many fold, however some questions still remain regarding the effects that long term expression of foreign proteins such as Cas9, have on mammalian cell function. Several studies have proposed that chronic overexpression of Cas9, with or without its accompanying guide RNAs, may have deleterious effects on cell function and health. This is of particular concern when applying this technology in vivo, where chronic expression of Cas9 in tissues of interest may promote disease-like phenotypes and thus confound the investigation of the effects of the gene of interest. Although these concerns remain valid, no study to our knowledge has yet to demonstrate this directly.

Methods

In this study we used the lox-stop-lox (LSL) spCas9 ROSA26 transgenic (Tg) mouse line to generate four tissue-specific Cas9-Tg models that express Cas9 in the heart, liver, skeletal muscle or adipose tissue. We performed comprehensive phenotyping of these mice up to 20-weeks of age and subsequently performed molecular analysis of their organs.

Results

We demonstrate that Cas9 expression in these tissues had no detrimental effect on whole body health of the animals, nor did it induce any tissue-specific effects on whole body energy metabolism, liver health, inflammation, fibrosis, heart function or muscle mass.

Conclusions

Our data suggests that these models are suitable for studying the tissue specific effects of gene deletion using the LSL-Cas9-Tg model, and that phenotypes observed utilizing these models can be confidently interpreted as being gene specific, and not confounded by the chronic overexpression of Cas9.

Tissue-specific expression of Cas9 has no impact on whole-body metabolism in four transgenic mouse lines

Simon T. Bond, Aowen Zhuang, Christine Yang, Eleanor A.M. Gould, ... Brian G. Drew

Objective

CRISPR/Cas9 technology has revolutionized gene editing and fast tracked our capacity to manipulate genes of interest for the benefit of both research and therapeutic applications. Whilst many advances have, and continue to be made in this area, perhaps the most utilized technology to date has been the generation of knockout cells, tissues and animals. The advantages of this technology are many fold, however some questions still remain regarding the effects that long term expression of foreign proteins such as Cas9, have on mammalian cell function. Several studies have proposed that chronic overexpression of Cas9, with or without its accompanying guide RNAs, may have deleterious effects on cell function and health. This is of particular concern when applying this technology in vivo, where chronic expression of Cas9 in tissues of interest may promote disease-like phenotypes and thus confound the investigation of the effects of the gene of interest. Although these concerns remain valid, no study to our knowledge has yet to demonstrate this directly.

Methods

In this study we used the lox-stop-lox (LSL) spCas9 ROSA26 transgenic (Tg) mouse line to generate four tissue-specific Cas9-Tg models that express Cas9 in the heart, liver, skeletal muscle or adipose tissue. We performed comprehensive phenotyping of these mice up to 20-weeks of age and subsequently performed molecular analysis of their organs.

Results

We demonstrate that Cas9 expression in these tissues had no detrimental effect on whole body health of the animals, nor did it induce any tissue-specific effects on whole body energy metabolism, liver health, inflammation, fibrosis, heart function or muscle mass.

Conclusions

Our data suggests that these models are suitable for studying the tissue specific effects of gene deletion using the LSL-Cas9-Tg model, and that phenotypes observed utilizing these models can be confidently interpreted as being gene specific, and not confounded by the chronic overexpression of Cas9.

2020 impact factor: 7.4

The 60 Second Metabolist

In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

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