How CRISPR Genome Editor Helps Fight Bacteria

The famous CRISPR-Cas9 genome editor is alreadyIt has established itself quite well as a medical tool for treating diseases. And we have repeatedly reported them on the pages of our portal, so subscribe to us on Telegram so as not to miss anything. However, the range of application of this remarkable invention may be much wider. For example, not so long ago, a group of scientists from Canada developed a new way to deliver DNA editing tools directly to microorganisms. And this will allow you to effectively affect specific strains of bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant superbacteria), which previously could not be achieved.

Genome Editor never ceases to amaze

How a genome editor can kill germs

Scientists from the University of Western Ontariohave developed a new CRISPR delivery method that will help targeted kill bacteria. In the future, this can be seen as an alternative to traditional antibacterial drugs, which have recently lost their effectiveness due to the rapid adaptability of bacteria.

Delivery of any therapeutic agent,including CRISPR is very complex. - says one of the authors of the work, Professor Bogumil Karas. One of the main reasons why I am delighted with this work is that the results already have a wide range of possible applications in the real world. Besides being able to develop next-generation antimicrobials that are effective even for bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics, this technology can also be used to help “good” bacteria produce compounds for treating diseases.

But how is this possible? According to the editors of the journal Nature Communications, everything is quite simple. Unless, of course, editing DNA can be considered a simple task. However, the principle of exposure to bacteria is based on how the genome editor itself works. CRISPR, when "cutting out" sections of DNA, determines where to manipulate thanks to the so-called "palindromic repeats." This, if you do not go into details, certain sections of DNA that begin with one particular nucleotide (a structural unit of DNA) and end with another. And when the palindrome repeat programmed in CRISPR is recognized by the editor, then editing happens.

Using CRISPR to kill bacteria does notis a new idea, because this is what CRISPR essentially needs to do - change the structure of DNA. And since bacteria are unicellular organisms with one single DNA, its change inevitably leads to death. The problem has always been how to deliver CRISPR to the bacterium.

The process of transferring the genome editor from one bacterium to another

CRISPR Delivery System Uses Naturalthe ability of bacteria to replicate, called bacterial conjugation. This is a unidirectional transfer of a part of genetic material in direct contact of two bacterial cells. Thus, the genome editor is initially placed in the bacterial cell of a human microbiome (for example, in the intestinal microflora). Since CRISPR was initially “tuned” to special bacteria, it does no harm to microfolor. At the same time, when an “enemy” appears in the body, it begins to interact with other bacteria and, thanks to DNA transfer, also receives CRISPR, which recognizes the “target” and destroys it at the gene level.

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The discovery provides an opportunity, according to scientists,it is much better to cope with bacteria resistant to antibiotics. For example, Staphylococcus aureus (Staph A) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) have recently begun to form antibiotic-resistant strains called superbugs. And the new way should act on them especially effectively.