Hopes are high that CRISPR–Cas9 could one day be used in people to correct mutations that cause disease. 2017 witnessed incredible advances in the gene editing technology – we present a synopsis of the most popular CRISPR papers published in Nature Research journals from the past year, measured by their Altmetric Attention Score.
Altmetric Score: 3023
Moving images have been encoded into the DNA of bacteria using the CRISPR system. This achievement, published in Nature, expands on previous demonstrations that DNA provides a promising medium for storing digital data within living cells.
Nature Communications – Real-space and real-time dynamics of CRISPR-Cas9 visualized by high-speed atomic force microscopy
Altmetric Score: 924
Researchers have visualized the dynamics of the CRISPR-Cas9 complex, providing valuable insights into the CRISPR-mediated DNA cleavage mechanism. The high-speed function, described in a Nature Communications paper, has enabled fast, film-like scans of the biomolecules taking part in the molecular scissoring action.
Altmetric Score: 517
Some mutations in cancer cells make them resistant to immunotherapy. Researchers have designed a ‘two-cell-type’ CRISPRCas9 screen to identify tumour-intrinsic genetic mutations associated with the sensitivity of melanoma cells to effector T cell function. Candidate genes identified include mediators of MHC class I antigen presentation, and genes unknown to be involved in these immunity processes. Published in Nature, the authors highlight the interaction between T-cell-secreted apelin and its receptor APLNR on tumour cells as a node for potent T-cell-mediated killing of cancer cells.
Nature Communications – Targeted activation of diverse CRISPR-Cas systems for mammalian genome editing via proximal CRISPR targeting
Altmetric Score: 465
Researchers have developed a new genome editing tool that makes CRISPR more efficient and flexible, reports a paper published in Nature Communications. The technique, called “proxy-CRISPR”, provides access to previously unreachable areas of the genome.
Nature Reviews Genetics – Am I ready for CRISPR? A user’s guide to genetic screens
Altmetric Score: 381
This Review, published in Nature Reviews Genetics, intends to guide users through the process of applying CRISPR technology to their biological problems of interest, especially in the context of discovering gene function at scale.
Nature – RNA targeting with CRISPR–Cas13
Altmetric score: 380
CRISPR–Cas prokaryotic defence systems have provided versatile tools for DNA editing. Here, the authors demonstrate that the class 2 type VI RNA-guided RNA-targeting CRISPR–Cas effector Cas13a (previously known as C2c2) can be engineered for RNA knockdown and binding in mammalian cells. This addition to the CRISPR toolbox, described in a Nature paper, expands its potential uses to transcript tracking and knockdown.
Altmetric score: 339
A novel screening method that uses CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mouse models has revealed new drug targets that could potentially enhance the effectiveness of PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors – a promising new class of cancer immunotherapy. The study is published in Nature.
Nature Biotechnology – CRISPR–Cas9 epigenome editing enables high-throughput screening for functional regulatory elements in the human genome
Altmetric Score: 239
Researchers have developed a method to swiftly screen the non-coding DNA of the human genome for links to diseases that are driven by changes in gene regulation, according to a paper published in Nature Biotechnology. The technique could revolutionize modern medicine’s understanding of the genetically inherited risks of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders and others, and lead to new treatments.
Altmetric score: 228
One of the main concerns about the use of CRISPR in genome editing is the possibility of ‘off-target’ events. Scientists have been modifying the central enzyme involved in CRISPR editing to reduce this unwanted property. This study, published in Nature, describes a new version of the nuclease, ‘HypaCas9’, which enables more accurate editing, without substantial loss of efficiency on the desired target.
Altmetric Score: 215
Reported in Nature Methods, researchers have developed a systematic approach to map human genetic networks by combinatorial CRISPR–Cas9 perturbations coupled to robust analysis of growth kinetics. 73 pairs of cancer genes were targeted with dual guide RNAs in three cell lines, comprising 141,912 tests of interaction. Numerous therapeutically relevant interactions were identified, and these patterns replicated with combinatorial drugs at 75% precision. Consequently, it is anticipated that cellular context will be critical to synthetic-lethal therapies.
Nature Microbiology – A CRISPR–Cas9-based gene drive platform for genetic interaction analysis in Candida albicans
Altmetric Score: 209
Researchers have developed a CRISPR-Cas9-based “gene drive” platform to create diploid strains of Candida albicans – a notorious human fungal pathogen that causes thrush and serious systemic infections – where one or both gene copies could be efficiently deleted. The technique, reported in Nature Microbiology, may lead the way toward a better understanding of drug resistance and biofilm-forming mechanisms.
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