The CRISPR gene editing system is a miracle in modern science, but DNA cutting chains may not be the safest or ideal solution,media New Atlas reported. Researchers at Columbia University have developed a new version called INTEGRATE, which works in a similar but softer way, using “jumping genes” to insert large DNA sequences without breaking chains. Now, for the first time, they have demonstrated this mechanism.
Most CRISPR systems work by scanning the genome for specific DNA target parts, removing fragments and inserting new fragments. This can remove bad genes, such as those that cause disease, and replace them with more beneficial ones. However, with all this cutting and pasting, sometimes the sequences cannot be reassembled correctly, which can lead to unexpected mutations.
An emerging branch of the CRISPR system uses a more gentle approach, by adding new DNA sequences without removing existing ONEs. By guiding RNA-assisted target insertion of transposonfactors (INTEGRATE) is one such system.
The INTEGRATE system was developed when Colombian researchers discovered a fascinating “jump gene” in Vibrio cholerae bacteria earlier this year. As its name suggests, the gene was found to “jump” in the genome and insert it into different locations. Instead of cutting off the DNA chain, it uses another enzyme to insert itself. By reprogramming the RNA, the researchers were able to control where the “jumpgene” was inserted into itself. The resulting gene-editing tool, INTEGRATE, can be used to insert DNA sequences up to 10,000 bases.
For the new study, researchers are learning more about how it works. In the sub-micro phase, things develop so fast that it is often difficult to see what is happening. When studied through a frozen electron microscope, the imaging technique slows down by freezing it quickly and then using an electron microscope to see what is happening at very fine resolution.
The team found that INTEGRATE used the Cascade or Cas complex, just like other CRISPR systems. Most of this uses wizard RNA to scan cells for matching DNA sequences. When it finds one, it shuttles its genes through the TniQ “transition” protein, and then gathers other enzymes to help change the DNA.
With more knowledge of this, you can confirm the team’s initial assumptions about how INTEGRATE works. The researchers say the new system should help make CRISPR more accurate and efficient.
Sam Sternberg, lead researcher on the study, said: “In our first study, we showed how to use INTEGRATE-targeted DNA insertion into bacterial cells. These new images… Explaining biology in incredible molecular details will help us to guide protein engineering. “
The study was published in the journal Nature.