CMN Weekly (20 August 2021)

Some of the best links we picked up around the internet

By: Karen O'Hanlon Cohrt - Aug. 20, 2021

Top picks

  • A team led by Feng Zhang has developed a novel mRNA delivery system that exploits a human protein to package, secrete and deliver specific RNAs to cells. The new system, called SEND, harnesses the ability of the human protein PEG10 to bind to its own mRNA and form a protective capsule around it. The researchers engineered PEG10 to take on RNA cargoes of their choice and successfully delivered the system to mouse and human cells. The findings were published in Science today.
  • What If You Could Become Invisible to Mosquitoes? A writeup in the New York Times about recent findings that CRISPR could be used to engineer mosquitoes so that they are blind to human hosts. The researchers behind the work hope that the findings may one day inform strategies to control mosquito populations. The original research article is published in Current Biology.
  • CRISPR gene editing: The key benefits (and risks) of modifying our natural world. A piece in Science Focus that explores the consequences of genome-editing tools.

Research

  • Researchers in the US have developed Multiplexed Intermixed CRISPR Droplets (MIC-Drop), a platform that facilitates large-scale functional genetic screens in vivo CRISPR screens in zebrafish and other model organisms. The platform combines droplet microfluidics, single-needle en masse CRISPR ribonucleoprotein injections, and DNA barcoding. The work was published yesterday in Science.
  • Scientists at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard Medical School have repurposed CRISPR technology to identify antibodies in patient blood samples in a move that could inspire a new class of medical diagnostics in addition to a host of other applications. The technique is called ‘peptide immobilization by Cas9-mediated self-organization’ (PICASSO) and it works through the generation of bespoke peptide libraries that are fused to catalytically inactive Cas9 (dCas9) and barcoded with unique single guide RNA (sgRNA) molecules. These can self-assemble from a single mixed pool to programmable positions on a DNA microarray surface for rapid, multiplexed binding assays that can detect antibodies in human blood samples. The findings were recently published in Molecular Cell.
  • Researchers in Denmark and Austria have developed CRISPRa and CRISPRi platforms based on RNA or ribonucleoprotein (RNP) delivery by electroporation, and they demonstrate transient, programmable gene regulation in primary cells, including human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and CD3+ T cells. The researchers believe that these technologies will be useful for engineering the transcriptome for studies of stem cell biology and gene function, and predict future applications within cellular therapeutic development. The findings were published in Genome Research this week.

Editorial

  • Gene therapies should be for all Pioneers and patents. A popular editorial recently published in Nature Medicine that asks whether healthcare systems are prepared to deal with the cost and accessibility of gene therapies on a global scale.

Reviews

Conferences and webinars

Jobs

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