CRISPR/Cas9-engineered 3D Tissue Culture Models of Drug-resistant Melanoma



CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing technology is a powerful new tool for developing cell-based models with disease-relevant mutations. In this presentation, we describe how this advanced technology was used to introduce specific point mutation that confers drug resistance into the A375 melanoma line to create the MEK1 Q56P Mutant-A375 Isogenic Cell Line. The new isogenic cell line is resistant to both MEK and BRAF inhibitors and, like the current isogenic KRAS and NRAS Mutant-A375 Cell Lines, sensitive to combination therapies targeting both upstream and downstream elements of the Ras/Raf-MAPK signaling pathway, making it an ideal model for screening and evaluating novel therapeutics and combination treatments targeting multidrug-resistant melanomas. 

Key Points:

  • CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering was used to create a series of isogenic cell-based models of drug-resistant melanoma.
  • The new A375 MEK1 Q56P melanoma model is resistant to BRAF and MEK inhibitors currently used in melanoma treatment, making it an ideal model or the development of novel therapeutics and combination therapies.
  • A375 drug-resistant melanoma models can be used for screening or study of novel therapeutics in either the traditional 2D tissue culture format or as 3D spheroids that more closely mimic the biological tumor micro-environment.


Liz Gillies, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Gillies, Ph.D.,
Scientist, ATCC Cell Systems

Dr. Elizabeth Gillies is a scientist with ATCC Cell Systems. She has been using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to create cell-based models of human disease since the development of the technology in 2013. Dr. Gillies’ doctoral work focused on the generation and study of isogenic cell lines that recapitulate the cellular phenotypes of diseases of the nuclear envelope, which are associated with congenital conditions such as Torsin dystonia, Pelger-Huët anomaly, and Greenberg skeletal dysplasia. She obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University in 2015 and joined ATCC shortly thereafter.