Navigation Links
Consortium develops new method enabling routine targeted gene modification

A multi-institutional team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has developed a powerful new tool for genomic research and medicine a robust method for generating synthetic enzymes that can target particular DNA sequences for inactivation or repair. In the July 25 issue of Molecular Cell, the researchers describe an efficient, publicly available method to engineer customized zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), which can be used to induce specific genomic modifications in many types of cells.

"Recent work has shown that ZFNs can alter genes with high efficiency in cells from plants or model organisms like fruitflies, roundworms and zebrafish, and in human cells," says J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD, of the MGH Molecular Pathology Unit, the paper's senior author. "However, a significant bottleneck has been the lack of access to an effective method for generating the customized DNA-binding domains needed to guide ZFNs to their target sites. Our method will enable academic researchers to rapidly create high quality ZFNs for genes of interest and will stimulate use of this technology in biological research and potentially gene therapy."

Zinc-finger peptides, which bind to DNA, occur naturally in many important proteins that regulate or otherwise interact with DNA. Zinc-finger nucleases are constructed from synthetic "designer" zinc-finger domains targeted to a specific genetic sequence and another protein segment that breaks both DNA strands within the binding site. Currently available methods for generating ZFNs are either inefficient or involve constructing and analyzing huge libraries of zinc-finger peptides, a task that exceeds the capabilities of all but a handful of laboratories in the world.

First author Morgan L. Maeder of the Joung lab led an effort by researchers from six institutions that demonstrated how this new method (termed OPEN for Oligomerized Pool ENgineering) can rapidly generate ZFNs that induce alterations at sites in three biologically important human genes and a plant gene. ZFNs made by the new OPEN method which utilizes a new archive of reagents that will be made publicly available by the Zinc Finger Consortium were so efficient that they could modify as many as four copies of a gene in human cells and two copies in plant cells.

"Our study provides the first evidence that ZFNs can make specific changes in plant genes with high efficiency and opens a new avenue for plant genetic modification," says Daniel Voytas, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, whose lab conducted the plant cell experiments. Recently relocated from Iowa State University, Voytas and his team are interested in modifying plant genes for crop improvement.

"With the development of OPEN, many more academic labs will be able to construct, test and use ZFNs in their biological research projects," adds Joung. "OPEN should also stimulate additional research into the potential application of ZFNs for gene therapy of single-gene disorders, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis." Joung's lab has already begun to explore ways to further simplify the OPEN method so that it can be performed more quickly and for a larger number of gene targets at once. He is an assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Molecular Pathology Unit at MGH.


Contact: Sue McGreevey
Massachusetts General Hospital

Related biology news :

1. Midlands Consortium delighted to be chosen to host £1 billion energy institute
2. NIH expands national consortium dedicated to transforming clinical and translational research
3. Consortium develops new method to manipulate genetic material
4. How schizophrenia develops: Major clues discovered
5. MIT develops tractor beam for cells, more
6. Team of scientists develops non-invasive method to track nerve-cell development in live human brain
7. MBL develops infrastructure and portal for Encyclopedia of Life
8. U of I researcher develops power-packed soy breakfast cereal
9. Scientists discover how TB develops invincibility against only available treatment
10. Europe develops new technologies to boost health of livestock
11. Queens develops safe green decontamination method
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/12/2015)... Hoyos Labs , ... will introduce its new biometric four-finger (4F) ... providing an unprecedented level of security / ... new biometric standard for secure transactions (BOPS). ... financial services to healthcare are implementing Hoyos, ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... 8. Oktober 2015 Die Track ... Unternehmen des Bereiches Tracking, hat heute bekannt ... Gefängnisbehörde Virginias (Department of Corrections – DOC) ... für alle Strafen geliefert werden, die der ... Präsident für den Amerikanischen Kontinent der Track ...
(Date:10/6/2015)... MATEO, Calif. , Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... company, today announced enhancements to its software portfolio ... expression analysis kit for differential expression in eukaryotes. ... Platform, which is a cloud-based genomic analysis solution ... advance scientific discovery from next-generation sequencing efforts. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... cell surface marker detection market ... to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. This ... of oncology diseases and other cell-associated disorders. --> ... USD 6.49 billion by 2022, according to a new report ... be attributed to rise in incidence of oncology diseases and ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) ... and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, endocrinology and women,s ... , the Company,s former Senior Vice President, Chief Financial ... Quebec City office.  David ... of the Company commented, "After a comprehensive review, the ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... -- LabStyle Innovations Corp. (OTCQB: DRIO), ... its Medical Director, Dr. Moshe Kamar , will ... EAI International Conference on Wireless Mobile Communication and Healthcare ... and wireless technologies," the conference will take place in ... - 16, 2015. The conference is endorsed and organized ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015 VolitionRx Limited ... completed clinical study of its NuQ ® blood-based test ... online issue of Clinical Epigenetics , the official journal ... in collaboration with Lund University, ... , MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Vice-Dean, Faculty of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: