Punch - Counterpunch: HIV Can Avoid CRISPR/Cas9 Editing

Punch - Counterpunch: HIV Can Avoid CRISPR/Cas9 Editing
Apr-13-2016 0 comments Cube Biosystems

IFL Science
By Robin Andrews

In an effort to understand how HIV evolves resistance to drugs, scientists have found that it may be possible to steer the evolution of HIV proteins, and eventually make HIV stop evolving.

Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected T cell.
Source: NIAID

A few weeks ago we reported that by using CRISPR/Cas9 editing, researchers were able to remove HIV from stem cells. Unfortunately, a new study reveals that HIV is able to quickly adapt to this type of gene-editing attack by mutating, allowing it to evade destruction. For this new study, instead of giving T cells immunity to viral infection, the team actually engineered the with a CRISPR/Cas9 system that would to seek and destroy HIV pathogens. Two weeks after equipping the cells with the CRISPR/Cas9 system, it was discovered that the virus had produced mutations near the editing site that prevented Cas9 from removing the virus. This does not eliminate the possibility of utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 as treatment tool, but does reconfirm that we are up against a 'wily' opponent.

Original: CRISPR/Cas9-Derived Mutations Both Inhibit HIV-1 Replication and Accelerate Viral Escape, Cell

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