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Advances in CRISPR-Cas systems for RNA targeting, tracking and editing

Wang, Fei, Wang, Lianrong, Zou, Xuan, Duan, Suling, Li, Zhiqiang, Deng, Zixin, Luo, Jie, Lee, Sang Yup, Chen, Shi
Biotechnology advances 2019
DNA, RNA, amino acids, gene editing, genes
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein (Cas) systems, especially type II (Cas9) systems, have been widely used in gene/genome targeting. Modifications of Cas9 enable these systems to become platforms for precise DNA manipulations. However, the utilization of CRISPR-Cas systems in RNA targeting remains preliminary. The discovery of type VI CRISPR-Cas systems (Cas13) shed light on RNA-guided RNA targeting. Cas13d, the smallest Cas13 protein, with a length of only ~930 amino acids, is a promising platform for RNA targeting compatible with viral delivery systems. Much effort has also been made to develop Cas9, Cas13a and Cas13b applications for RNA-guided RNA targeting. The discovery of new RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas systems as well as the development of RNA-targeting platforms with Cas9 and Cas13 will promote RNA-targeting technology substantially. Here, we review new advances in RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas systems as well as advances in applications of these systems in RNA targeting, tracking and editing. We also compare these Cas protein-based technologies with traditional technologies for RNA targeting, tracking and editing. Finally, we discuss remaining questions and prospects for the future.