Virologica Sinica

CRISPR/Cas9-based tools for targeted genome editing and replication control of HBV.

PMID 26511989


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a major global health problem because current therapies rarely eliminate HBV infections to achieve a complete cure. A different treatment paradigm to effectively clear HBV infection and eradicate latent viral reservoirs is urgently required. In recent years, the development of a new RNA-guided gene-editing tool, the CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated nuclease 9) system, has greatly facilitated site-specific mutagenesis and represents a very promising potential therapeutic tool for diseases, including for eradication of invasive pathogens such as HBV. Here, we review recent advances in the use of CRISPR/Cas9, which is designed to target HBV specific DNA sequences to inhibit HBV replication and to induce viral genome mutation, in cell lines or animal models. Advantages, limitations and possible solutions, and proposed directions for future research are discussed to highlight the opportunities and challenges of CRISPR/Cas9 as a new, potentially curative therapy for chronic hepatitis B infection.