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Rajasekaran B.,Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics | Rajasekaran B.,Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems | Uriu K.,Kanazawa University | Valentin G.,Genoway | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Many questions in developmental biology depend on measuring the position and movement of individual cells within developing embryos. Yet, tools that provide this data are often challenged by high cell density and their accuracy is difficult to measure. Here, we present a three-step procedure to address this problem. Step one is a novel segmentation algorithm based on image derivatives that, in combination with selective post-processing, reliably and automatically segments cell nuclei from images of densely packed tissue. Step two is a quantitative validation using synthetic images to ascertain the efficiency of the algorithm with respect to signal- To-noise ratio and object density. Finally, we propose an original method to generate reliable and experimentally faithful ground truth datasets: Sparsedense dual-labeled embryo chimeras are used to unambiguously measure segmentation errors within experimental data. Together, the three steps outlined here establish a robust, iterative procedure to fine- Tune image analysis algorithms and microscopy settings associated with embryonic 3D image data sets. © 2016 Rajasekaran et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Sothilingam V.,University of Tubingen | Garrido M.G.,University of Tubingen | Jiao K.,University of Tubingen | Jiao K.,Kunming Medical University | And 16 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2015

Mutations in the PDE6A gene can cause rod photoreceptors degeneration and the blinding disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). While a number of pathogenic PDE6A mutations have been described, little is known about their impact on compound heterozygous situations and potential interactions of different disease-causing alleles. Here, we used a novel mouse model for the Pde6a R562W mutation in combination with an existing line carrying the V685M mutation to generate compound heterozygous Pde6a V685M/R562W animals, exactly homologous to a case of human RP. We compared the progression of photoreceptor degeneration in these compound heterozygous mice with the homozygous V685M and R562W mutants, and additionally with the D670G line that is known for a relatively mild phenotype. We investigated PDE6A expression, cyclic guanosine mono-phosphate accumulation, calpain and caspase activity, in vivo retinal function and morphology, as well as photoreceptor cell death and survival. This analysis confirms the severity of different Pde6a mutations and indicates that compound heterozygous mutants behave like intermediates of the respective homozygous situations. Specifically, the severity of the four different Pde6a situations may be categorized by the pace of photoreceptor degeneration: V685M (fastest) > V685M/ R562W > R562W > D670G (slowest). While calpain activity was strongly increased in all four mutants, caspase activity was not. This points to the execution of non-apoptotic cell death and may lead to the identification of new targets for therapeutic interventions. For individual RP patients, our study may help to predict time-courses for Pde6a-related retinal degeneration and thereby facilitate the definition of a window-of-opportunity for clinical interventions. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Remy S.,Nantes University Hospital Center | Tesson L.,Nantes University Hospital Center | Menoret S.,Nantes University Hospital Center | Usal C.,Nantes University Hospital Center | And 12 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2014

The generation of genetically modified animals is important for both research and commercial purposes. The rat is an important model organism that until recently lacked efficient genetic engineering tools. Sequence-specific nucleases, such as ZFNs, TALE nucleases, and CRISPR/Cas9 have allowed the creation of rat knockout models. Genetic engineering by homology-directed repair (HDR) is utilized to create animals expressing transgenes in a controlled way and to introduce precise genetic modifications. We applied TALE nucleases and donor DNA microinjection into zygotes to generate HDR-modified rats with large new sequences introduced into three different loci with high efficiency (0.62%-5.13% of microinjected zygotes). Two of these loci (Rosa26 and Hprt1 ) are known to allow robust and reproducible transgene expression and were targeted for integration of a GFP expression cassette driven by the CAG promoter. GFP-expressing embryos and four Rosa26 GFP rat lines analyzed showed strong and widespread GFP expression in most cells of all analyzed tissues. The third targeted locus was Ighm, where we performed successful exon exchange of rat exon 2 for the human one. At all three loci we observed HDR only when using linear and not circular donor DNA. Mild hypothermic (30°C) culture of zygotes after microinjection increased HDR efficiency for some loci. Our study demonstrates that TALE nuclease and donor DNA microinjection into rat zygotes results in efficient and reproducible targeted donor integration by HDR. This allowed creation of genetically modified rats in a work-, cost-, and time-effective manner. © 2014 Remy et al.

Menoret S.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Menoret S.,Nantes University Hospital Center | Fontaniere S.,Genoway | Jantz D.,Precision Biosciences, Inc. | And 13 more authors.
FASEB Journal | Year: 2013

Despite the recent availability ofific nucleases, such as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like nucleases (TALENs), there is still a need for new tools to modify the genome of different species in an efficient, rapid, and less costly manner. One aim of this study was to apply, for the first time, engineered meganucleases to mutate an endogenous gene in animal zygotes. The second aim was to target the mouse and rat recombination activating gene 1 (Rag1) to describe, for the first time, Rag1 knockout immunodeficient rats. We microinjected a plasmid encoding a meganuclease for Rag1 into the pronucleus of mouse and rat zygotes. Mutant animals were detected by PCR sequencing of the targeted sequence. A homozygous RAG1-deficient rat line was generated and immunophenotyped. Meganucleases were efficient, because 3.4 and 0.6% of mouse and rat microinjected zygotes, respectively, generated mutated animals. RAG1-deficient rats showed significantly decreased proportions and numbers of immature and mature T and B lymphocytes and normal NK cells vs. littermate wild-type controls. In summary, we describe the use of engineered meganucleases to inactivate an endogenous gene with efficiencies comparable to those of ZFNs and TALENs. Moreover, we generated an immunodeficient rat line useful for studies in which there is a need for biological parameters to be analyzed in the absence of immune responses. © FASEB.

Renaud J.-B.,French Natural History Museum | Boix C.,French Natural History Museum | Charpentier M.,French Natural History Museum | De Cian A.,French Natural History Museum | And 19 more authors.
Cell Reports | Year: 2016

Genome editing has now been reported in many systems using TALEN and CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases. Precise mutations can be introduced during homology-directed repair with donor DNA carrying the wanted sequence edit, but efficiency is usually lower than for gene knockout and optimal strategies have not been extensively investigated. Here, we show that using phosphorothioate-modified oligonucleotides strongly enhances genome editing efficiency of single-stranded oligonucleotide donors in cultured cells. In addition, it provides better design flexibility, allowing insertions more than 100 bp long. Despite previous reports of phosphorothioate-modified oligonucleotide toxicity, clones of edited cells are readily isolated and targeted sequence insertions are achieved in rats and mice with very high frequency, allowing for homozygous loxP site insertion at the mouse ROSA locus in particular. Finally, when detected, imprecise knockin events exhibit indels that are asymmetrically positioned, consistent with genome editing taking place by two steps of single-strand annealing. © 2016 The Authors.

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