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      The CRISPR tool kit for genome editing and beyond

      review-article
      Nature Communications
      Nature Publishing Group UK

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          Abstract

          CRISPR is becoming an indispensable tool in biological research. Once known as the bacterial immune system against invading viruses, the programmable capacity of the Cas9 enzyme is now revolutionizing diverse fields of medical research, biotechnology, and agriculture. CRISPR-Cas9 is no longer just a gene-editing tool; the application areas of catalytically impaired inactive Cas9, including gene regulation, epigenetic editing, chromatin engineering, and imaging, now exceed the gene-editing functionality of WT Cas9. Here, we will present a brief history of gene-editing tools and describe the wide range of CRISPR-based genome-targeting tools. We will conclude with future directions and the broader impact of CRISPR technologies.

          Abstract

          CRISPR has rapidly become an indispensable tool for biological research. Here Mazhar Adli reviews the current toolbox for editing and manipulating the genome and looks toward future developments in this fast moving field.

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          Most cited references104

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          A TALE nuclease architecture for efficient genome editing.

          Nucleases that cleave unique genomic sequences in living cells can be used for targeted gene editing and mutagenesis. Here we develop a strategy for generating such reagents based on transcription activator-like effector (TALE) proteins from Xanthomonas. We identify TALE truncation variants that efficiently cleave DNA when linked to the catalytic domain of FokI and use these nucleases to generate discrete edits or small deletions within endogenous human NTF3 and CCR5 genes at efficiencies of up to 25%. We further show that designed TALEs can regulate endogenous mammalian genes. These studies demonstrate the effective application of designed TALE transcription factors and nucleases for the targeted regulation and modification of endogenous genes.
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            Intervening sequences of regularly spaced prokaryotic repeats derive from foreign genetic elements.

            Prokaryotes contain short DN repeats known as CRISPR, recognizable by the regular spacing existing between the recurring units. They represent the most widely distributed family of repeats among prokaryotic genomes suggesting a biological function. The origin of the intervening sequences, at present unknown, could provide clues about their biological activities. Here we show that CRISPR spacers derive from preexisting sequences, either chromosomal or within transmissible genetic elements such as bacteriophages and conjugative plasmids. Remarkably, these extrachromosomal elements fail to infect the specific spacer-carrier strain, implying a relationship between CRISPR and immunity against targeted DNA. Bacteriophages and conjugative plasmids are involved in prokaryotic population control, evolution, and pathogenicity. All these biological traits could be influenced by the presence of specific spacers. CRISPR loci can be visualized as mosaics of a repeated unit, separated by sequences at some time present elsewhere in the cell.
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              Epigenome editing by a CRISPR/Cas9-based acetyltransferase activates genes from promoters and enhancers

              Technologies that facilitate the targeted manipulation of epigenetic marks could be used to precisely control cell phenotype or interrogate the relationship between the epigenome and transcriptional control. Here we have generated a programmable acetyltransferase based on the CRISPR/Cas9 gene regulation system, consisting of the nuclease-null dCas9 protein fused to the catalytic core of the human acetyltransferase p300. This fusion protein catalyzes acetylation of histone H3 lysine 27 at its target sites, corresponding with robust transcriptional activation of target genes from promoters, proximal enhancers, and distal enhancers. Gene activation by the targeted acetyltransferase is highly specific across the genome. In contrast to conventional dCas9-based activators, the acetyltransferase effectively activates genes from enhancer regions and with individual guide RNAs. The core p300 domain is also portable to other programmable DNA-binding proteins. These results support targeted acetylation as a causal mechanism of transactivation and provide a new robust tool for manipulating gene regulation.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                adli@virginia.edu
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                15 May 2018
                15 May 2018
                2018
                : 9
                : 1911
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000 0000 9136 933X, GRID grid.27755.32, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, , University of Virginia, ; 1340 Jefferson Park Ave, Pinn Hall, Rm: 640, Charlottesville, VA 22902 USA
                Article
                4252
                10.1038/s41467-018-04252-2
                5953931
                29765029
                7710b3eb-75b7-4896-9427-c06fdecdec9e
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 21 January 2018
                : 16 April 2018
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