New RNA-Based Tool Can Illuminate Brain Circuits, Edit Specific Cells; Editing Technology Is Precise and Broadly Applicable to All Tissues and Species; Article Published in Nature

ADAR Enzyme with Double-Stranded RNA

Duke University researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that targets individual cells, rather than genes. It is capable of precisely targeting any type of cell and selectively adding any protein of interest. Researchers said the tool could enable modifying very specific cells and cell functions to manage disease. Using an RNA-based probe, a team led by neurobiologist Z. Josh Huang, PhD, and postdoctoral researcher Yongjun Qian, PhD, demonstrated they can introduce into cells fluorescent tags to label specific types of brain tissue; a light-sensitive on/off switch to silence or activate neurons of their choosing; and even a self-destruct enzyme to precisely expunge some cells but not others. The work was published on October 5, 2022 in Nature. The article is titled “Programmable RNA Sensing for Cell Monitoring and Manipulation.”

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