CRISPR-BEST Gene-Editing Tool Protects Against Genome Instability

Just recently, researchers from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, in Denmark, came up with a new gene-editing tool – CRISPR-BEST. The new method is dedicated to actinomycetes for the creation of better antibiotics. The best part of CRISPR-BEST, in comparison with the common CRISPR-Cas9, is that this new tool protects against genome instability.

CRISPR-Cas9 is handy in genome manipulation to create enhanced antibiotics. However, using CRISPR-Cas9 has its challenges. First, genome instability is the most significant issue. Secondly, Cas9-protein’s toxicity remains in the final product.

A new study issued in PNAS presents the advantages of the CRISPR-BEST gene-editing tool. It mutates actinomycetes without needing a DNA double-stranded break. Accordingly, CRISPR-BEST alters the genes in the bacteria without causing genome instability. And that represents a considerable step forward to the production of better antibiotics to fight against superbugs.

CRISPR-BEST Gene-Editing Tool Protects Against Genome Instability

“CRISPR-BEST solves some of the main problems related to current CRISPR technologies. This could be a big step in the direction of better exploiting the potential of biotechnologies such as metabolic engineering and synthetic biology that relies on genetic manipulation and gene editing,” explained Yaojun Tong from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability.

While CRISPR-BEST is the right direction to follow to avoid genome instability, the new gene-editing tool needs improvements, the scientists noted. The first things on the researchers’ agenda are to increase the method’s efficiency and the number of gene edits that CRISPR-BEST is capable of doing.

“For systematic metabolic engineering of actinobacteria, which are among the best producers of antibiotics and other bioactive compounds, only a few genetic tools exist that have the required throughput and scalability for systems metabolic engineering approaches—so just the fact that we now have a new toolkit is already an advantage,” added Dr. Yaojun Tong.