The ability to target a precise area of a human gene has been achieved. This new technique uses a protein created with artificial intelligence and CRISPR gene editing, triggering the sleeping gene/s to awaken. This discovery will open studies in cellular growth, developments, functions, and a cell’s dying process.
Shiri Levy, a Research Scientist at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the head author of the research explains “The beauty of this approach is we can safely upregulate specific genes to affect cell activity without permanently changing the genome and cause unintended mistakes,”
This new approach concentrates on a specific gene without manipulating the DNA sequence of the genome. It strikes at specific chemical surroundings that help hold genes in our chromosomes and control their life activity. These minuet changes (epigenetic modifications) occur on top of the genes, making it a safe and effective strategy.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) team along with Dr. Levy studied a protein complex called PRC2; which makes genes dormant by attaching a methyl group molecule to a protein packaging gene, called histones.
To awaken the PRC2 from the histones, the ISCRM team used artificial intelligence that would lock onto PRC2 and block the protein that PRC2 uses to change the histones. The AI protein was immersed into a different protein called Cas9.
Cas9 is the protein used in CRISPR gene editing. It locks and uses RNA as a location beacon. This allows biochemists to maneuver Cas9 into a precise area in the genome. Since the Cas9 protein is just a delivery protein, it does not alter the DNA sequence.
Their research paper reads the process of how they were able to illustrate the blocking of PRC2 while turning on four dormant genes