CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) allows researchers to up-regulate specific gene function by activating transcription, without editing the DNA.
Visit our CRISPRa applications page to learn more.

The Horizon CRISPRmod CRISPRa system requires two components to operate: a CRISPRa guide RNA and a catalytically deactivated Cas9 (dCas9) fused to transcriptional activators (VPR). Our CRISPRa reagents provide a straightforward, efficient set of tools to study a gene’s function by overexpression in its native context.


CRISPRa reagent selection

There are many options and considerations for CRISPRa experimental conditions. Generally, users achieve the most robust activation when working with a stable population of dCas9-VPR expressing cells.

dCas9-VPR source Guide RNA format Delivery method Recommendations for use & benefits

CRISPRa dCas9-VPR stable cells


CRISPRa dCas9-VPR lentiviral particle transduction
& selection for dCas9-VPR stable cells

CRISPRa synthetic crRNA + tracrRNA Transfection or electroporation
  • Short timepoint assays (2-4 days)
  • Pool guide RNAs for increased activation
  • Multiplex targets for simultaneous activation
  • Arrayed screening
CRISPRa lentiviral sgRNA particles Transduction
  • Extended timepoint assays with stable expression
  • Low MOI - single integration for stable and even activation in cell population
CRISPRa dCas9-VPR mRNA CRISPRa synthetic crRNA + tracrRNA Co-transfection or electroporation
  • Short timepoint assays
  • Antibiotic and fluorescent enrichment options
  • No exogenous DNA, no integration of reagents in genome
CRISPRa dCas9-VPR lentiviral plasmid CRISPRa lentiviral sgRNA plasmid Co-transfection or electroporation with
dCas9-VPR plasmid
  • Short timepoint assays
  • Antibiotics selection to enrich
  • No lentiviral integration
CRISPRa all-in-one dCas9-VPR + sgRNA Transduction
  • Maximize successful delivery of CRISPRa components into difficult to transduce cell types
  • Puromycin or GFP markers allow for live cell tracking of gene activation