SliceIt: A genome-wide resource and visualization tool to design CRISPR/Cas9 screens for editing protein-RNA interaction sites in the human genome

Sasank Vemuri, Rajneesh Srivastava, Quoseena Mir, Seyedsasan Hashemikhabir, X. Charlie Dong, Sarath Chandra Janga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Several protein-RNA cross linking protocols have been established in recent years to delineate the molecular interaction of an RNA Binding Protein (RBP) and its target RNAs. However, functional dissection of the role of the RBP binding sites in modulating the post-transcriptional fate of the target RNA remains challenging. CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system is being commonly employed to perturb both coding and noncoding regions in the genome. With the advancements in genome-scale CRISPR/Cas9 screens, it is now possible to not only perturb specific binding sites but also probe the global impact of protein-RNA interaction sites across cell types. Here, we present SliceIt (, a database of in silico sgRNA (single guide RNA) library to facilitate conducting such high throughput screens. SliceIt comprises of ~4.8 million unique sgRNAs with an estimated range of 2–8 sgRNAs designed per RBP binding site, for eCLIP experiments of >100 RBPs in HepG2 and K562 cell lines from the ENCODE project. SliceIt provides a user friendly environment, developed using advanced search engine framework, Elasticsearch. It is available in both table and genome browser views facilitating the easy navigation of RBP binding sites, designed sgRNAs, exon expression levels across 53 human tissues along with prevalence of SNPs and GWAS hits on binding sites. Exon expression profiles enable examination of locus specific changes proximal to the binding sites. Users can also upload custom tracks of various file formats directly onto genome browser, to navigate additional genomic features in the genome and compare with other types of omics profiles. All the binding site-centric information is dynamically accessible via “search by gene”, “search by coordinates” and “search by RBP” options and readily available to download. Validation of the sgRNA library in SliceIt was performed by selecting RBP binding sites in Lipt1 gene and designing sgRNAs. Effect of CRISPR/Cas9 perturbations on the selected binding sites in HepG2 cell line, was confirmed based on altered proximal exon expression levels using qPCR, further supporting the utility of the resource to design experiments for perturbing protein-RNA interaction networks. Thus, SliceIt provides a one-stop repertoire of guide RNA library to perturb RBP binding sites, along with several layers of functional information to design both low and high throughput CRISPR/Cas9 screens, for studying the phenotypes and diseases associated with RBP binding sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Guide RNA
  • In silico library
  • Pooled CRISPR screens
  • Post-transcriptional control
  • Protein-RNA interactions
  • RNA binding proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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