In vivo epigenome editing and transcriptional modulation using CRISPR technology

Cia Hin Lau, Yousin Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The rapid advancement of CRISPR technology has enabled targeted epigenome editing and transcriptional modulation in the native chromatin context. However, only a few studies have reported the successful editing of the epigenome in adult animals in contrast to the rapidly growing number of in vivo genome editing over the past few years. In this review, we discuss the challenges facing in vivo epigenome editing and new strategies to overcome the huddles. The biggest challenge has been the difficulty in packaging dCas9 fusion proteins required for manipulation of epigenome into the adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivery vehicle. We review the strategies to address the AAV packaging issue, including small dCas9 orthologues, truncated dCas9 mutants, a split-dCas9 system, and potent truncated effector domains. We discuss the dCas9 conjugation strategies to recruit endogenous chromatin modifiers and remodelers to specific genomic loci, and recently developed methods to recruit multiple copies of the dCas9 fusion protein, or to simultaneous express multiple gRNAs for robust epigenome editing or synergistic transcriptional modulation. The use of Cre-inducible dCas9-expressing mice or a genetic cross between dCas9- and sgRNA-expressing flies has also helped overcome the transgene delivery issue. We provide perspective on how a combination use of these strategies can facilitate in vivo epigenome editing and transcriptional modulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-509
Number of pages21
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Adeno-associated virus
  • CRISPR activation
  • CRISPR interference
  • Cis-regulatory elements
  • Epigenetic regulation
  • Epigenome editing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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