From Berkeley Lab: “Programmable DNA Scissors Found for Bacterial Immune System”
Discovery Could Lead to Editing Tool for Genomes
June 28, 2012
“Genetic engineers and genomics researchers should welcome the news from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) where an international team of scientists has discovered a new and possibly more effective means of editing genomes. This discovery holds potentially big implications for advanced biofuels and therapeutic drugs, as genetically modified microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, are expected to play a key role in the green chemistry production of these and other valuable chemical products.
Programmable DNA scissors: A double-RNA structure in the bacterial immune system has been discovered that directs Cas9 protein to cleave and destroy invading DNA at specific nucleotide sequences. This same dual RNA structure should be programmable for genome editing. (Image by H. Adam Steinberg, artforscience.com)
Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist with Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and professor at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, helped lead the team that identified a double-RNA structure responsible for directing a bacterial protein to cleave foreign DNA at specific nucleotide sequences. Furthermore, the research team found that it is possible to program the protein with a single RNA to enable cleavage of essentially any DNA sequence.
‘We’ve discovered the mechanism behind the RNA-guided cleavage of double-stranded DNA that is central to the bacterial acquired immunity system,’ says Doudna, who holds appointments with UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Department of Chemistry, and is an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
See the full article here.
A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California