CRISPR/Cas-mediated transcriptional modulation: The therapeutic promises of CRISPRa and CRISPRi


. 2023 Mar 23;S1525-0016(23)00145-4.

doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2023.03.024.

Online ahead of print.


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Louise Bendixen et al.

Mol Ther.



The CRISPR/Cas system is commonly known for its ability to cleave DNA in a programmable manner, which has democratized gene editing and facilitated recent breakthroughs in gene therapy. However, newer iterations of the technology using nuclease-disabled Cas enzymes have spurred a variety of different types of genetic engineering platforms such as transcriptional modulation using the CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) and CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) systems. This review introduces the creation of these programmable transcriptional modulators, various methods of delivery utilized for these systems, and recent technological developments. CRISPRa and CRISPRi have also been implemented in genetic screens for interrogating gene function and discovering genes involved in various biological pathways. We describe recent compelling examples of how these tools have become powerful means to unravel genetic networks and uncovering important information about devastating diseases. Finally, we provide an overview of preclinical studies in which transcriptional modulation has been used therapeutically, and we discuss potential future directions of these novel modalities.

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