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Tracking Multiple Genomic Elements Using Correlative CRISPR Imaging and Sequential DNA FISH


Live imaging of genome has offered important insights into the dynamics of the genome organization and gene expression. The demand to image simultaneously multiple genomic loci has prompted a flurry of exciting advances in multicolor CRISPR imaging, although color-based multiplexing is limited by the need for spectrally distinct fluorophores. Here we introduce an approach to achieve highly multiplexed live recording via correlative CRISPR imaging and sequential DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). This approach first performs one-color live imaging of multiple genomic loci and then uses sequential rounds of DNA FISH to determine the loci identity. We have optimized the FISH protocol so that each round is complete in 1 min, demonstrating the identification of seven genomic elements and the capability to sustain reversible staining and washing for up to 20 rounds. We have also developed a correlation-based algorithm to faithfully register live and FISH images. Our approach keeps the rest of the color palette open to image other cellular phenomena of interest, as demonstrated by our simultaneous live imaging of genomic loci together with a cell cycle reporter. Furthermore, the algorithm to register faithfully between live and fixed imaging is directly transferrable to other systems such as multiplex RNA imaging with RNA-FISH and multiplex protein imaging with antibody-staining.

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