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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Cas9-mediated targeting of viral RNA in eukaryotic cells.


PMID 25918406

Abstract

Clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats-CRISPR associated (CRISPR-Cas) systems are prokaryotic RNA-directed endonuclease machineries that act as an adaptive immune system against foreign genetic elements. Using small CRISPR RNAs that provide specificity, Cas proteins recognize and degrade nucleic acids. Our previous work demonstrated that the Cas9 endonuclease from Francisella novicida (FnCas9) is capable of targeting endogenous bacterial RNA. Here, we show that FnCas9 can be directed by an engineered RNA-targeting guide RNA to target and inhibit a human +ssRNA virus, hepatitis C virus, within eukaryotic cells. This work reveals a versatile and portable RNA-targeting system that can effectively function in eukaryotic cells and be programmed as an antiviral defense.