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Breakthrough made at Max F. Perutz Laboratories
Date:5/8/2014

PS (Vienna International Postdoctoral program) have now established customized transcriptional activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) as a tool to engineer targeted modifications in Platynereis genes. These tailored enzymes bind specific DNA sequences and "cut" the genome at these locations. The repair mechanisms of the cell promptly repair the damage, however small errors in the form of insertions and deletions can be introduced during the repair process. The result is the generation of small mutations that render the protein product of the gene non-functional allowing the generation of the first-ever Platynereis mutants.

Future directions

The researchers found out that the induced mutations are heritable, demonstrating that TALENs can be used for generating mutant lines in this bristle worm. "This new tool opens the door for detailed in vivo functional analyses in Platynereis and can also facilitate further technical developments. For example, we hope to use TALENs to insert fluorescent reporter genes into the genome. In this way we can study how gene expression is regulated across the entire lifecycle", explains first author Stephanie Bannister, VIPS Postdoc in Florian Raible's group at the Department of Microbiology, Immunobiology and Genetics at the University of Vienna. She spearheaded the establishment of the technique. "In addition, we have provided a streamlined workflow that can serve as a template for the establishment of TALEN technology in other non-conventional and emerging model organisms", Stephanie Bannister adds.


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Contact: Lilly Sommer
lilly.sommer@mfpl.ac.at
43-142-772-4014
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

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