More on CRISPR: Zhang on a class 2 CRISPR effector
In a study published on Friday, scientists led by Feng Zhang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that they discovered enzymes that cut more precisely than those now in use in CRISPR, a technique with an uncanny ability to make a beeline for a targeted stretch of DNA, snip it out, and replace it.
The abstract of Zhang's paper in Cell includes the text:
The microbial adaptive immune system CRISPR mediates defense against foreign genetic elements through two classes of RNA-guided nuclease effectors. Class 1 effectors utilize multi-protein complexes, whereas class 2 effectors rely on single-component effector proteins such as the well-characterized Cas9. Here, we report characterization of Cpf1, a putative class 2 CRISPR effector. We demonstrate that Cpf1 mediates robust DNA interference with features distinct from Cas9. Cpf1 is a single RNA-guided endonuclease lacking tracrRNA, and it utilizes a T-rich protospacer-adjacent motif. Moreover, Cpf1 cleaves DNA via a staggered DNA double-stranded break.
Boston Globe story on a new development in the CRISPR saga: