Bing Yang, assistant professor of genetics, development and cell biology, and his colleagues developed the hybrid protein by joining parts of two different bacterial proteins. One is called a TAL effector, which functions to find the specific site on the gene that needs to be cut, and the other is an enzyme called a nuclease that cuts the DNA strands.
Yang hopes the research will lead to the ability to modify genomes by cutting out defective or undesirable parts of DNA, or by replacing defective or undesirable gene segments with a functioning piece of replacement DNA - a process called homologous recombination.
Yang says that his hybrid proteins can be constructed to locate specific segments of the DNA in any type of organism.
"This breakthrough could eventually make it possible to efficiently modify plant, animal and even human genomes," said Yang. "It should be effective in a range of organisms."
The proteins work by binding onto the specific segment of DNA the researcher wants to change. Yang's proteins do this by reading the DNA sequence and finding the specific area to be cut.
Once the protein binds onto the DNA at the correct spot, the other half of Yang's protein then cuts the double-stranded DNA.
Bad or undesirable DNA can be resected (removed) and good or more desirable DNA can be introduced. When the DNA heals, the good DNA is included in the gene.
Yang started his research about a year ago after seeing the results of research by Adam Bogdanove, ISU associate professor of plant pathology, showing that TAL effectors use a very straightforward code to bind to a specific DNA sequence.
This discovery allowed Yang to predict exactly where the TAL effector nuclease will bind on the DNA to make the cut.
Another study had similar results.
The concept has also been proven by Bogdanove and Dan Voytas, collaborator in genetics, development and cell biology at Iowa State, and director of the Center for Genome Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
The TAL effector-nuclease approach improves on tools currently available for genome modification. It should be faster and less expensive to make TAL effector nucleases, and easier to design them to recognize specific DNA sequences, according to Yang.
Yang's findings recently appeared in the online version of the journal Nucleic Acids Research. Voytas' and Bogdanove's study also appeared recently in the journal Genetics.
Voytas and Bogdanove were also able to show that the TAL effector part of the hybrid protein can be customized to target new DNA sequences.
Yang's team includes Ting Li, graduate assistant; Sheng Huang, post doctoral researcher; David Wright, associate scientist; and Martin Spalding, professor and chair; all of the genetics, development and cell biology department at Iowa State; Wen Zhi Jiang, research associate; and Donald Weeks, professor; both from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Bing Yang | EurekAlert!
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences