Safe scarless cassette-free selection of genome-edited human pluripotent stem cells using temporary drug resistance

Keun Tae Kim, Ju Chan Park, Hyeon Ki Jang, Haeseung Lee, Seokwoo Park, Jumee Kim, Ok Seon Kwon, Young Hyun Go, Yan Jin, Wankyu Kim, Jeongmi Lee, Sangsu Bae, Hyuk Jin Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


An efficient gene-editing technique for use in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) has great potential value in regenerative medicine, as well as in drug discovery based on isogenic human disease models. However, the extremely low efficiency of gene editing in hPSCs remains as a major technical hurdle. Previously, we demonstrated that YM155, a survivin inhibitor developed as an anti-cancer drug, induces highly selective cell death in undifferentiated hPSCs. In this study, we demonstrated that the high cytotoxicity of YM155 in hPSCs, which is mediated by selective cellular uptake of the drug, is due to the high expression of SLC35F2 in these cells. Knockout of SLC35F2 with CRISPR-Cas9, or depletion with siRNAs, made the hPSCs highly resistant to YM155. Simultaneous editing of a gene of interest and transient knockdown of SLC35F2 following YM155 treatment enabled the survival of genome-edited hPSCs as a result of temporary YM155 resistance, thereby achieving an enriched selection of clonal populations with gene knockout or knock-in. This precise and efficient genome editing approach took as little as 3 weeks and required no cell sorting or the introduction of additional genes, to be a more feasible approach for gene editing in hPSCs due to its simplicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120295
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • CRISPR-Cas9
  • Disease modeling
  • Gene editing
  • Human pluripotent stem cells
  • SLC35F2
  • YM155


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