Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Viruses as Tools for Gene Editing

In August, Arnold Park et al. published a paper on using Sendai virus, from the paramixoviridae family, for gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9. Despite being a close relative of human parainfluenza viruses, Sendai virus has not ever been associated with human disease, making it a presumably safe vector for gene editing. Researchers were attracted to using Sendai virus in this manner because it infects a wide variety of tissue types, replicates quickly, and it effectively expresses foreign genes.

The research team created a Human Embryonic Kidney cell line (HEK293), and noted that the Sendai virus-Cas9 duo resulted in 98% mutagenesis of the reporter gene. Additionally, the Sendai virus-Cas9 duo achieved 75-90% mutagenesis of HEK293 alleles in human white blood cells without selecting for transduction. Moreover, the study reported negligible (0.05% above control) to no off target effects.

Other researchers have demonstrated the benefits of using DNA viruses such as lentiviruses for gene editing. However, those studies required selecting for transduced cells in order to yield high efficacy rates (75-88%). Park et al. has shown with Sendai viruses that RNA viruses can yield equal or better results without having to select for transduction. This greatly increases the efficiency of gene editing with CRISPR/Cas9 overall.

Check out the article here:

~Jazzmin Williams

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