p53 Hinders CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Targeted Gene Disruption in Memory CD8 T Cells In Vivo

CRISPR/Cas9 technology has revolutionized rapid and reliable gene editing in cells. Although many cell types have been subjected to CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing, there is no evidence of success in genetic alteration of Ag-experienced memory CD8 T cells. In this study, we show that CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in memory CD8 T cells precludes their proliferation after Ag re-encounter in vivo. This defect is mediated by the proapoptotic transcription factor p53, a sensor of DNA damage. Temporarily inhibiting p53 function offers a window of opportunity for the memory CD8 T cells to repair the DNA damage, facilitating robust recall responses on Ag re-encounter. We demonstrate this by functionally altering memory CD8 T cells using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted gene disruption under the aegis of p53siRNA in the mouse model. Our approach thus adapts the CRISPR/Cas9 technology for memory CD8 T cells to undertake gene editing in vivo, for the first time, to our knowledge.

Samarchith P. KurupSteven J. MoiofferLecia L. Pewe and John T. Harty. J Immunol. 2020 Sep 4;ji2000654. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2000654.

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