Cas9-Mediated Gene-Editing in the Black-Legged Tick, Ixodes Scapularis, by Embryo Injection and ReMOT Control.

A. a. P. Sharma, Michael N. and Reyes, Jeremiah B. and Chana, Randeep and Yim, Won C. and Heu, Chan C. and Kim, Donghun and Chaverra-Rodriguez, Duverney and Rasgon, Jason L. and Harrell, Robert A. and Nuss, Andrew B. and Gulia-Nuss, Monika,,  Cell Reports,  2021.

Despite their capacity to acquire and pass on an array of debilitating pathogens, research on ticks has lagged behind other arthropod vectors, such as mosquitoes, largely because of a lack of genetic and molecular tools. CRISPR-Cas9 is transforming non-model organism research; however, successful gene editing has not yet been reported in ticks. Technical challenges for injecting tick embryos to attempt gene editing have further slowed research progress. Herein we report a successful tick embryo injection protocol for the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis, the first for any chelicerate species, and the use of this protocol for genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9. We also demonstrated for the first time that the ReMOT Control technique can be successfully used to generate genome mutations outside Insecta. Our results provide innovative tools to the tick research community that are essential for advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing pathogen transmission by tick vectors as well as for understanding the underlying biology of host-vector-pathogen interactions.

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