Novel CRISPR tool allows unprecedented control of epigenetic inheritance

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Sumary of Novel CRISPR tool allows unprecedented control of epigenetic inheritance:

  • © iStock-Panuwach Scientists have developed a novel CRISPR technology tool that allows for superior control of epigenetic inheritance for up to 450 generations, paving the way for powerful epigenetic therapies..
  • The team of scientists at UC San Francisco and the Whitehead Institute have modified CRISPR architecture to extend its use beyond the genome and into the epigenome – proteins and molecules that control when and where genes are switched on or off..
  • The novel CRISPR-based tool has been named CRISPRoff – and allows almost any gene in human cells to be switched off without making a single edit to the genetic code..
  • The new CRISPRoff technology does not involve any DNA editing, meaning it is likely to be safer than conventional CRISPR therapeutics, which have been known to cause unwanted and potentially harmful changes to the genome..
  • Luke Gilbert, PhD, a professor at UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-senior author of the new paper, said:.
  • Conventional CRISPR is equipped with two pieces of molecular hardware for gene-editing, including a DNA-snipping enzyme, which gives CRISPR the ability to alter DNA sequences, and a homing device that can be programmed to zero in on any DNA sequence of interest, imparting precise control over where edits are made..
  • To build CRISPRoff, the researchers created a stripped-down CRISPR capable of targeting any gene, but not editing it, which they then tethered an enzyme to, and, rather than splicing DNA, this enzyme acts on the epigenome..
  • The new tool targets a particular epigenetic feature known as DNA methylation, which is one of many molecular parts of the epigenome..
  • Although DNA methylation occurs naturally in all mammalian cells, CRISPRoff offers scientists unprecedented control over this process..
  • Another tool described in the paper, called CRISPRon, removes methylation marks deposited by CRISPRoff, making the process fully reversible….

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