Exploration of Microbial Diversity to Discover Novel Molecular Technologies [Published online Keio J Med, 68, 26-26, by J-STAGE]

[Published online The Keio Journal of Medicine Vol.68, 26-26, by J-STAGE]
<Title:> Exploration of Microbial Diversity to Discover Novel Molecular Technologies
<Author(s):> Feng Zhang
<Abstract:> Many powerful molecular biology tools have their origin in nature. From restriction enzymes to CRISPR-Cas9, microbes utilize a diverse array of systems to get ahead evolutionarily. We are exploring this natural diversity through bioinformatics, biochemical, and molecular work to better understand the fundamental ways in which microbes and other living organisms sense and respond to their environment and as possible to develop these natural systems as molecular tools and to improve human health. Building on our demonstration that Cas9 can be repurposed for precision genome editing in mammalian cells, we look for novel CRISPR-Cas systems that are different and may have other useful properties. This led to the discovery of several new CRISPR systems, including the CRISPR-Cas13 family that target RNA, rather than DNA. We have developed a toolbox for RNA modulation based on Cas13, including methods for precision base editing, adding to our robust toolbox for DNA based on Cas9 and Cas12. We are expanding our biodiscovery efforts to search for new microbial proteins that may be adapted for applications beyond genome and transcriptome modulation, capitalizing on the growing volume of microbial genomic sequences. We are particularly interested in identifying new therapeutic modalities and vehicles for delivering them into patients. We hope that additional robust tools and delivery options will further accelerate research into human disease and open up new therapeutic possibilities.
<URL:> https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/kjm/68/1/68_68-002-ABST/_html

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