center for systems

& synthetic biology

an NIGMS national systems biology center


Designer ON/OFF switches using CRISPR interference

March 11, 2013

Qi et al. have developed a CRISPR interference system, referred to as CRISPRi, to turn off expression of targeted individual genes, or even sets of genes, with unprecedented simplicity and precision.

The system employs a catalytically dead Cas9 protein which can be targeted to a specific genomic site via a complementary small guide RNA, allowing systematic perturbation of gene transcription in bacteria and mammalian cells. The CRISPRi system is completely reversible, and should also be adaptable to turn on the expression of gene targets, or to direct different modifiers to particular genes. Ultimately, CRISPRi has great potential as a general platform for engineering and controlling a genome and for reprogramming cells from one type to another. Read the paper published recently in Cell and highlighted in UCSF News.