CRISPR/Cas12a Multiplex Genome Editing of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the Creation of Yeast Pixel Art

Klaudia Ciurkot, Brenda Vonk, Thomas E. Gorochowski, Johannes A. Roubos, René Verwaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


High efficiency, ease of use and versatility of the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) system has facilitated advanced genetic modification of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a model organism and workhorse in industrial biotechnology. CRISPR-associated protein 12a (Cas12a), an RNA-guided endonuclease with features distinguishable from Cas9 is applied in this work, further extending the molecular toolbox for genome editing purposes. A benefit of the CRISPR/Cas12a system is that it can be used in multiplex genome editing with multiple guide RNAs expressed from a single transcriptional unit (single CRISPR RNA (crRNA) array). We present a protocol for multiplex integration of multiple heterologous genes into independent loci of the S. cerevisiae genome using the CRISPR/Cas12a system with multiple crRNAs expressed from a single crRNA array construct. The proposed method exploits the ability of S. cerevisiae to perform in vivo recombination of DNA fragments to assemble the single crRNA array into a plasmid that can be used for transformant selection, as well as the assembly of donor DNA sequences that integrate into the genome at intended positions. Cas12a is pre-expressed constitutively, facilitating cleavage of the S. cerevisiae genome at the intended positions upon expression of the single crRNA array. The protocol includes the design and construction of a single crRNA array and donor DNA expression cassettes, and exploits an integration approach making use of unique 50-bp DNA connectors sequences and separate integration flank DNA sequences, which simplifies experimental design through standardization and modularization and extends the range of applications. Finally, we demonstrate a straightforward technique for creating yeast pixel art with an acoustic liquid handler using differently colored carotenoid producing yeast strains that were constructed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number147
Publication statusPublished - May 28 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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