Combatting Viruses with RNA-Targeted CRISPR | The Scientist Magazine®

The list of potential uses for the CRISPR/Cas system grows longer by
the day. Now fighting viruses may soon be added to that list, according
to a study published today (April 27) in PNAS. Microbiologist David Weiss and immunologist Arash Grakoui of Emory University in Atlanta and their colleagues used a version of the Cas9 enzyme from the bacteria Francisella novicida to bind hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and prevent the pathogen from replicating inside human cells.

Last summer, another group showed that CRISPR/Cas9 could be used to seek out and excise HIV DNA from the genomes of latently-infected cells. The Emory team later found that F. novicida
Cas9 (FnCas9) blocks HCV in a different way; it binds viral RNA in the
cytosol such that, “if there are off-target effects, it wouldn’t be
editing the genome,” said study coauthor Aryn Price, a graduate student in Grakoui’s lab.

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