Scientists Use CRISPR to Make Cellular RecordersFebruary 21, 2018
Scientists from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts used CRISPR-Cas9 to transform DNA into a sensitive recording device that can document the duration and order of events occurring within cells — and even delete and re-record data in the same genome. The research findings are published in Science.
According to David Liu, a chemical biologist from Broad Institute, the inspiration for the cellular recorders was the flight data recorder in planes. Together with chemist Weixin Tang, Liu harnessed the DNA-slicing power of Cas9 to engineer a cellular recorder using plasmids. They altered three DNA letters in one plasmid, so that it carries a sequence targeted by a guide RNA. The researchers also engineered the bacterium to express Cas9 only when a particular antibiotic is present.
Bacteria do not have the DNA-repair abilities of mammalian cells to fix the damage caused by Cas9, instead, when the plasmid is targeted by Cas9, it is degraded. Then, another plasmid replicates to take the place of the degraded one. The researchers placed the altered and normal plasmids into the cells and measured the relative ratio of the two. The proportion of altered plasmid fell in cells that had been treated with antibiotic, because the cells had begun to degrade the altered plasmids.
This led to an unusually sensitive recorder that allowed the researchers to read out information from as few as ten bacterial cells. The magnitude of change revealed the amount of antibiotic present, as well as the duration of exposure. They also developed techniques for resetting the ratio of altered to unaltered plasmid, erasing the first recording and preparing the cell to document the next event using the same set of plasmids.
Biotech Updates is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a not-for-profit organization. It is distributed for free to over 22,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- TWAS Elects New Fellows for 2018
- FAO and OECD Promote Responsible Investment in Agri
- Social Media Campaign Empowers Women in Science
- Meta-Analysis of 21 Years of Data Reveals Benefits of GE Maize
- Research Team Finds Gene that Improves Plant Growth and Conversion to Biofuels
- Green Super Rice for A Greener Revolution
- Study Reveals How Plants Get Their Nitrogen Fix
- Sainsbury Laboratory Scientists Solved 79-Year-Old Mystery of Plant Response to Heat
- International Research Team Gains New Insights into Tomato Breeding
- Mustard Gene Improves Health-Promoting Compounds in Tomato
- Small Signaling Peptide Enhances Drought Tolerance in Rice
- ShCIGT Confers Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Tomato
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Gene that Could Make More Viable Ever-bearing Strawberries
- Scientists Use CRISPR to Make Cellular Recorders
- International Biotechnology and Research Conference 2018
- ZFN Used to Study Rice SSIVa Gene
- Researchers Test CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing on Brown Planthopper
- Disruption of OsSEC3A Induces Plant Defense Responses in Rice
Read the latest:
- Biotech Updates (October 4, 2023)
- Gene Editing Supplement (September 27, 2023)
- Gene Drive Supplement (February 22, 2023)
Subscribe to BU: