Recurrent chromosomal deletions spanning several megabases are often found in hematological malignancies. The ability to engineer deletions in model systems to functionally study their effects on the phenotype would enable, first, determination of whether a given deletion is pathogenic or neutral and, second, identification of the critical genes. Incomplete synteny makes modeling of deletions of megabase scale challenging or impossible in the mouse or other model organisms. Furthermore, despite the breakthroughs in targeted nuclease technologies in recent years, engineering of megabase-scale deletions remains challenging and has not been achieved in normal diploid human cells. Large deletions of the long arm of chromosome 7 (chr7q) occur frequently in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and are associated with poor prognosis. We previously found that we can model chr7q deletions in human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) using a modified Cre-loxP strategy. However, this strategy did not afford control over the length and boundaries of the engineered deletions, which were initiated through random chromosome breaks. Here we developed strategies enabling the generation of defined and precise chromosomal deletions of up to 22 Mb, using two different strategies: “classic” Cre-loxP recombination and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated DNA cleavage. As proof of principle, we illustrate that phenotypic characterization of the hematopoiesis derived from these iPSCs upon in vitro differentiation allows further definition of the critical region of chr7q whose hemizygosity impairs hematopoietic differentiation potential. The strategies we present here can be broadly applicable to engineering of diverse chromosomal deletions in human cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Hematology
StatePublished - Jul 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Engineering of targeted megabase-scale deletions in human induced pluripotent stem cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this