Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Broad-Scale Genome Tinkering With Help of an RNA Guide

Published: Monday, July 29, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, July 29, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Duke researchers have devised a way to quickly and easily target and tinker with any gene in the human genome.

The new tool, which builds on an RNA-guided enzyme they borrowed from bacteria, is being made freely available to researchers who may now apply it to the next round of genome discovery.

The new method also has obvious utility for gene therapy and for efforts to reprogram stem or adult cells into other cell types -- for example, to make new neurons from skin cells.

"We have the genome sequence and we know what all the parts are, but we are still in need of methods to manipulate it easily and precisely," says assistant professor Charles Gersbach, of Duke's Pratt School of Engineering and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. "That's where this engineering tool comes in."

Gersbach's team had already been in the business of tinkering with the genome using specially engineered proteins, but the process was difficult and slow. It was hard to imagine how to scale it up for the investigation of hundreds or even thousands of genes in the way genome scientists really wanted to do. "That's where the conversation always broke down," he says.

Then, he and post-doctoral researcher Pablo Perez-Pinera found out about an RNA-guided protein called Cas9 found in a Streptococcus bacteria. The bacteria rely on Cas9 as part of an adaptive immune system to defend themselves against infection by viruses, cutting out a piece of the viral DNA and inserting it into their own genome for recognition of future infection. Other scientists then showed that those immune system components could function inside human cells.

Gersbach's team recognized the RNA-guided nature of this system as a potential game-changer for the gene engineering work they do.

In the study now reported in Nature Methods on July 25, Gersbach and his colleagues modified Cas9 to turn genes on rather than cut them. They showed that their tool could turn on very specific genes in human cells. They went on to demonstrate use of the tool to modify targets of interest for fighting inflammation and activating gene networks for making neurons, muscle cells or stem cells. They showed they could induce a gene known to alleviate symptoms of sickle cell disease, too.

In other words, it works, and it works on genes that matter from a clinical perspective. In principle, the RNA-guided tool could be used to modify or influence any gene anywhere in the genome.

Gersbach now hopes to apply the new tool along with collaborators in the IGSP to investigate the functions of thousands of sites across the genome. With tissue engineer Farshid Guilak, a professor of engineering and orthopaedic surgery, he will continue to work on its application in the fight against inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as arthritis.

"This simple and versatile tool makes it easy for anyone to do this," Gersbach says.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Immunity Genes Could Protect Some From E. Coli
When a child comes home from preschool with a stomach bug that threatens to sideline the whole family for days, why do some members of the family get sick while others are unscathed?
Monday, January 25, 2016
Disrupting Cell’s Supply Chain Freezes Cancer Virus
When the cancer-causing Epstein-Barr virus moves into a B-cell of the human immune system, it tricks the cell into rapidly making more copies of itself, each of which will carry the virus.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Slow Stem Cell Division May Cause Small Brains
Delayed neural stem cells make the wrong cells during development.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Travelling Salesman Uncorks Synthetic Biology Bottleneck
Computer program scrambles genetic codes for production of repetitive DNA and synthetic molecules.
Thursday, January 07, 2016
Catching Cellular Impacts of Bubbles and Jets
New technique captures diverse effects of cavitation bubbles on individual cells.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Cellular Stress Process Identified in Cardiovascular Disease
Combining the investigative tools of genetics, transcriptomics, epigenetics and metabolomics, a Duke Medicine research team has identified a new molecular pathway involved in heart attacks and death from heart disease.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Molecular ‘Kiss Of Death’ Flags Pathogens For Destruction
Researchers have discovered that our bodies mark pathogen-containing vacuoles for destruction by using a molecule called ubiquitin, commonly known as the "kiss of death."
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Newly Identified Biochemical Pathway Could Be Target for Insulin Control
Researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of Alberta are reporting the identification of a new biochemical pathway to control insulin secretion from islet beta cells in the pancreas, establishing a potential target for insulin control.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Protein Structures Assemble and Disassemble On Command
Gene sequences may enable control of building bio-structures.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Molecular Tinkering Doubles Cancer Drug’s Efficacy
Researchers have packaged a widely used cancer drug into nanoparticles, more than doubling its effectiveness at destroying tumors.
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Researchers Learn To Measure Aging Process In Young Adults
Biological measures may be combined to determine whether people are aging faster or slower than their peers.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Outsmarting HIV With Vaccine Antigens Made to Order
AIDS vaccine researchers may be one step closer to outwitting HIV, thanks to designer antibodies and antigens made to order at Duke University.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Animals’ Genomic Buffers May Help Humans
Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School have identified a mechanism that explains why some mutations can be disease-causing in one genome but benign in another.
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
New Gene Influences Apple or Pear Shape, Risk of Future Disease
Duke researchers have discovered that a gene called Plexin D1 controls both where fat is stored and how fat cells are shaped.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Boy or Girl? Lemur Scents Have the Answer
A new study finds that a pregnant lemur’s signature scent depends in part on whether she’s carrying a girl or a boy.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Scientific News
Breaking Cell Barriers with Retractable Protein Nanoneedles
Adapting a bacterial structure, institute researchers have developed protein actuators that can mechanically puncture cells.
Gene Signature could Lead to a New Way of Diagnosing Lyme Disease
Lyme disease patients had distinctive gene signatures that persisted for at least three weeks, even after they had taken the antibiotics.
Retractable Protein Nanoneedles
The ability to control the transfer of molecules through cellular membranes is an important function in synthetic biology; a new study from researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard Medical School (HMS) introduces a novel mechanical method for controlling release of molecules inside cells.
Leukemia’s Surroundings Key to its Growth
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a type of cancer found primarily in children can grow only when signaled to do so by other nearby cells that are noncancerous.
Common Cell Transformed into Master Heart Cell
By genetically reprogramming the most common type of cell in mammalian connective tissue, researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison have generated master heart cells — primitive progenitors that form the developing heart.
‘Smelling’ Prostate Cancer
A research team from the University of Liverpool and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has reached an important milestone towards creating a urine diagnostic test for prostate cancer that could mean that invasive diagnostic procedures that men currently undergo eventually become a thing of the past.
Genetic Mutation that Prevents Diabetes Complications
The most significant complications of diabetes include diabetic retinal disease, or retinopathy, and diabetic kidney disease, or nephropathy. Both involve damaged capillaries.
A Crystal Clear View of Biomolecules
Fundamental discovery triggers paradigm shift in crystallography.
Could the Food we Eat Affect Our Genes?
Almost all of our genes may be influenced by the food we eat, according to new research.
NIH Seeks Research Applications to Study Zika in Pregnancy, Developing Fetus
Institute has announced that the new effort seeks to understand virus effect on reproduction and child development.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!