Abstract: Genetically Engineered Mouse Models (GEMMs) aid in understanding human pathologies and developing new therapeutics, yet recapitulating human diseases authentically in mice is challenging to design and execute. Advances in genomics have highlighted the importance of non-coding regulatory genome sequences controlling spatiotemporal gene expression patterns and splicing to human diseases. It is thus apparent that including regulatory genomic regions in GEMMs is highly preferable for disease modeling, with the prerequisite of large-scale genome engineering ability. Existing genome engineering methods have limits on the size and efficiency of DNA delivery, hampering routine creation of highly informative GEMMs. Here, we describe mSwAP-In (mammalian Switching Antibiotic resistance markers Progressively for Integration), a method for efficient genome rewriting in mouse embryonic stem cells. We first demonstrated the use of mSwAP-In for iterative genome rewriting of up to 115 kb of the Trp53 locus, as well as for genomic humanization of up to 180 kb ACE2 locus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, we showed the hACE2 GEMM authentically recapitulated human ACE2 expression patterns and splicing, and importantly, presented milder symptoms without mortality when challenged with SARS-CoV-2 compared to the K18-ACE2 model, thus representing a more authentic model of infection.

Journal Link: 10.1101/2022.06.22.495814 Journal Link: Publisher Website Journal Link: Download PDF Journal Link: Google Scholar