Research Article

RNA editing with CRISPR-Cas13

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Science  24 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6366, pp. 1019-1027
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0180

Precise transcriptome engineering

Efficient and precise RNA editing to correct disease-relevant transcripts holds great promise for treating genetic disease. Cox et al. took advantage of the ability of Cas13b, an effector from a type VI CRISPR-Cas system, to target specific RNAs directly (see the Perspective by Yang and Chen). They fused Cas13b with the ADAR2 adenosine deaminase domain and used rational protein engineering to improve the resultant enzyme. These approaches yielded an RNA knockdown and editing platform that allowed efficient and specific RNA depletion and correction in mammalian cells.

Science, this issue p. 1019; see also p. 996


Nucleic acid editing holds promise for treating genetic disease, particularly at the RNA level, where disease-relevant sequences can be rescued to yield functional protein products. Type VI CRISPR-Cas systems contain the programmable single-effector RNA-guided ribonuclease Cas13. We profiled type VI systems in order to engineer a Cas13 ortholog capable of robust knockdown and demonstrated RNA editing by using catalytically inactive Cas13 (dCas13) to direct adenosine-to-inosine deaminase activity by ADAR2 (adenosine deaminase acting on RNA type 2) to transcripts in mammalian cells. This system, referred to as RNA Editing for Programmable A to I Replacement (REPAIR), which has no strict sequence constraints, can be used to edit full-length transcripts containing pathogenic mutations. We further engineered this system to create a high-specificity variant and minimized the system to facilitate viral delivery. REPAIR presents a promising RNA-editing platform with broad applicability for research, therapeutics, and biotechnology.

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