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Human anucleate platelets cannot be directly modified using traditional genetic approaches. Instead, studies of platelet gene function depend on alternative models. Megakaryocytes (the nucleated precursor to platelets) are the nearest cell to platelets in origin, structure, and function. However, achieving consistent genetic modifications in primary megakaryocytes has been challenging, and the functional effects of induced gene deletions on human megakaryocytes for even well-characterized platelet genes (eg, ITGA2B) are unknown. Here we present a rapid and systematic approach to screen genes for platelet functions in CD34+ cell-derived megakaryocytes called CRIMSON (CRISPR-edited megakaryocytes for rapid screening of platelet gene functions). By using CRISPR/Cas9, we achieved efficient nonviral gene editing of a panel of platelet genes in megakaryocytes without compromising megakaryopoiesis. Gene editing induced loss of protein in up to 95% of cells for platelet function genes GP6, RASGRP2, and ITGA2B; for the immune receptor component B2M; and for COMMD7, which was previously associated with cardiovascular disease and platelet function. Gene deletions affected several select responses to platelet agonists in megakaryocytes in a manner largely consistent with those expected for platelets. Deletion of B2M did not significantly affect platelet-like responses, whereas deletion of ITGA2B abolished agonist-induced integrin activation and spreading on fibrinogen without affecting the translocation of P-selectin. Deletion of GP6 abrogated responses to collagen receptor agonists but not thrombin. Deletion of RASGRP2 impaired functional responses to adenosine 5'-diphosphate (ADP), thrombin, and collagen receptor agonists. Deletion of COMMD7 significantly impaired multiple responses to platelet agonists. Together, our data recommend CRIMSON for rapid evaluation of platelet gene phenotype associations.

Citation

Emilie Montenont, Seema Bhatlekar, Shancy Jacob, Yasuhiro Kosaka, Bhanu K Manne, Olivia Lee, Ivan Parra-Izquierdo, Emilia Tugolukova, Neal D Tolley, Matthew T Rondina, Paul F Bray, Jesse W Rowley. CRISPR-edited megakaryocytes for rapid screening of platelet gene functions. Blood advances. 2021 May 11;5(9):2362-2374


PMID: 33944898

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