Advanced microscopy shines light on new CRISPR-Cas system

Advanced microscopy shines light on new CRISPR-Cas system

A new study describes how an interdisciplinary team of Cornell researchers used a state-of-the-art microscopy technique to reveal protein structures and key steps of a CRISPR-Cas system that holds promise for developing an improved gene editing tool. Eventually, these findings could lead to a reliable CRISPR-Cas system that allows scientists to insert larger cargoes of genetic information into cells with more precision than current techniques allow, with far-reaching implications for research and for treating human disease. The research focuses on CRISPR associated transposons, a group of bacterial ‘jumping genes’ that have incorporated naturally occurring CRISPR-Cas systems that bacteria use to recognize and disable viruses. The study, “Structural Basis of Target-site Selection in RNA-guided DNA Transposition Systems,” which published July 15 in Science, reveals important – and previously uncharacterized – mid-steps in the process. “We figured out the huge missing link of how this process happens in such a way that we can now engineer it to have a better chance of it actually working in human cells,” said Joseph Peters, professor of microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life …
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