Exploiting CRISPR/Cas systems for biotechnology.
The Cas9 endonuclease is the central component of the Type II CRISPR/Cas system, a prokaryotic adaptive restriction system against invading nucleic acids, such as those originating from bacteriophages and plasmids. Recently, this RNA-directed DNA endonuclease has been harnessed to target DNA sequences of interest. Here, we review the development of Cas9 as an important tool to not only edit the genomes of a number of different prokaryotic and eukaryotic species, but also as an efficient system for site-specific transcriptional repression or activation. Additionally, a specific Cas9 protein has been observed to target an RNA substrate, suggesting that Cas9 may have the ability to be programmed to target RNA as well. Cas proteins from other CRISPR/Cas subtypes may also be exploited in this regard. Thus, CRISPR/Cas systems represent an effective and versatile biotechnological tool, which will have significant impact on future advancements in genome engineering.
PubMed ID: 24323919
PMC ID: PMC4385387
Article link: Bioessays.
Grant support: R56-AI87673 NIAID NIH HHS , U54-AI057157 NIAID NIH HHS