Uncertainty-aware and interpretable evaluation of Cas9-gRNA and Cas12a-gRNA specificity for fully matched and partially mismatched targets with Deep Kernel Learning

Bogdan Kirillov, Ekaterina Savitskaya, Maxim Panov, Aleksey Y. Ogurtsov, Svetlana A. Shabalina, Eugene V. Koonin, Konstantin V. Severinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The choice of guide RNA (gRNA) for CRISPR-based gene targeting is an essential step in gene editing applications, but the prediction of gRNA specificity remains challenging. Lack of transparency and focus on point estimates of efficiency disregarding the information on possible error sources in the model limit the power of existing Deep Learning-based methods. To overcome these problems, we present a new approach, a hybrid of Capsule Networks and Gaussian Processes. Our method predicts the cleavage efficiency of a gRNA with a corresponding confidence interval, which allows the user to incorporate information regarding possible model errors into the experimental design. We provide the first utilization of uncertainty estimation in computational gRNA design, which is a critical step toward accurate decision-making for future CRISPR applications. The proposed solution demonstrates acceptable confidence intervals for most test sets and shows regression quality similar to existing models. We introduce a set of criteria for gRNA selection based on off-target cleavage efficiency and its variance and present a collection of pre-computed gRNAs for human chromosome 22. Using Neural Network Interpretation methods, we show that our model rediscovers an established biological factor underlying cleavage efficiency, the importance of the seed region in gRNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e11
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2022

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