Cas9 nucleases permit rapid and efficient generation of gene-edited cell lines. However, in typical protocols, mutations are intentionally introduced into the donor template to avoid the cleavage of donor template or re-cleavage of the successfully edited allele, compromising the fidelity of the isogenic lines generated. In addition, the double-stranded breaks (DSBs) used for editing can introduce undesirable “on-target” indels within the second allele of successfully modified cells via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). To address these problems, we present an optimized protocol for precise genome editing in human iPSCs that employs (1) single guided Cas9 nickase to generate single-stranded breaks (SSBs), (2) transient overexpression of BCL-XL to enhance survival post electroporation, and (3) the PiggyBac transposon system for seamless removal of dual selection markers. We have used this method to modify the length of the CAG repeat contained in exon 7 of PPP2R2B. When longer than 43 triplets, this repeat causes the neurodegenerative disorder spinocerebellar ataxia type 12 (SCA12); our goal was to seamlessly introduce the SCA12 mutation into a human control iPSC line. With our protocol, ~ 15% of iPSC clones selected had the desired gene editing without “on target” indels or off-target changes, and without the deliberate introduction of mutations via the donor template. This method will allow for the precise and efficient editing of human iPSCs for disease modeling and other purposes.
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