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Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) RNAs and their associated effector (Cas) enzymes are being developed into promising therapeutics to treat disease. However, CRISPR-Cas enzymes might produce unwanted gene editing or dangerous side effects. Drug-like molecules that can inactivate CRISPR-Cas enzymes could help facilitate safer therapeutic development. Based on the requirement of guide RNA and target DNA interaction by Cas enzymes, we rationally designed small nucleic acid-based inhibitors (SNuBs) of () Cas9. Inhibitors were initially designed as 2'--methyl-modified oligonucleotides that bound the CRISPR RNA guide sequence (anti-guide) or repeat sequence (anti-tracr), or DNA oligonucleotides that bound the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM)-interaction domain (anti-PAM) of Cas9. Coupling anti-PAM and anti-tracr modules together was synergistic and resulted in high binding affinity and efficient inhibition of Cas9 DNA cleavage activity. Incorporating 2'F-RNA and locked nucleic acid nucleotides into the anti-tracr module resulted in greater inhibition as well as dose-dependent suppression of gene editing in human cells. CRISPR SNuBs provide a platform for rational design of CRISPR-Cas enzyme inhibitors that should translate to other CRISPR effector enzymes and enable better control over CRISPR-based applications.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Nucleic acid therapeutics
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Adaptive antiviral defense mechanisms, in archaea and bacteria, based on DNA repeat arrays called CLUSTERED REGULARLY INTERSPACED SHORT PALINDROMIC REPEATS (CRISPR elements) that function in conjunction with CRISPR-ASSOCIATED PROTEINS (Cas proteins). Several types have been distinguished, including Type I, Type II, and Type III, based on signature motifs of CRISPR-ASSOCIATED PROTEINS.
Protein components of the CRISPR-CAS SYSTEMS for anti-viral defense in ARCHAEA and BACTERIA. These are proteins that carry out a variety of functions during the creation and expansion of the CRISPR ARRAYS, the capture of new CRISPR SPACERS, biogenesis of SMALL INTERFERING RNA (CRISPR or crRNAs), and the targeting and silencing of invading viruses and plasmids. They include DNA HELICASES; RNA-BINDING PROTEINS; ENDONUCLEASES; and RNA and DNA POLYMERASES.
Repetitive nucleic acid sequences that are principal components of the archaeal and bacterial CRISPR-CAS SYSTEMS, which function as adaptive antiviral defense systems.
Techniques for measuring specific nucleic acid interaction with another nucleic acid or with a protein by digestion of the non-interacting nucleic acid by various nucleases. After all non-interacting regions are eliminated by nuclease digestion, the protected nucleic acid that remains is analyzed. DNA FOOTPRINTING utilizes this technique to analyze the DNA contact sites of DNA-BINDING PROTEINS.
Double-stranded nucleic acid molecules (DNA-DNA or DNA-RNA) which contain regions of nucleotide mismatches (non-complementary). In vivo, these heteroduplexes can result from mutation or genetic recombination; in vitro, they are formed by nucleic acid hybridization. Electron microscopic analysis of the resulting heteroduplexes facilitates the mapping of regions of base sequence homology of nucleic acids.
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