Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Programmable RNA base editing with photoactivatable CRISPR-Cas13. Nature communications Yu, J., Shin, J., Yu, J., Kim, J., Yu, D., Heo, W. D. 2024; 15 (1): 673


    CRISPR-Cas13 is widely used for programmable RNA interference, imaging, and editing. In this study, we develop a light-inducible Cas13 system called paCas13 by fusing Magnet with fragment pairs. The most effective split site, N351/C350, was identified and found to exhibit a low background and high inducibility. We observed significant light-induced perturbation of endogenous transcripts by paCas13. We further present a light-inducible base-editing system, herein called the padCas13 editor, by fusing ADAR2 to catalytically inactive paCas13 fragments. The padCas13 editor enabled reversible RNA editing under light and was effective in editing A-to-I and C-to-U RNA bases, targeting disease-relevant transcripts, and fine-tuning endogenous transcripts in mammalian cells in vitro. The padCas13 editor was also used to adjust post-translational modifications and demonstrated the ability to activate target transcripts in a mouse model in vivo. We therefore present a light-inducible RNA-modulating technique based on CRISPR-Cas13 that enables target RNAs to be diversely manipulated in vitro and in vivo, including through RNA degradation and base editing. The approach using the paCas13 system can be broadly applicable to manipulating RNA in various disease states and physiological processes, offering potential additional avenues for research and therapeutic development.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-024-44867-2

    View details for PubMedID 38253589

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10803366

  • Pseudoknot-targeting Cas13b combats SARS-CoV-2 infection by suppressing viral replication. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy Yu, D., Han, H. J., Yu, J., Kim, J., Lee, G. H., Yang, J. H., Song, B. M., Tark, D., Choi, B. S., Kang, S. M., Heo, W. D. 2023; 31 (6): 1675-1687


    CRISPR-Cas13-mediated viral genome targeting is a novel strategy for defending against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants. Here, we generated mRNA-encoded Cas13b targeting the open reading frame 1b (ORF1b) region to effectively degrade the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene. Of the 12 designed CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs), those targeting the pseudoknot site upstream of ORF1b were found to be the most effective in suppressing SARS-CoV-2 propagation. Pseudoknot-targeting Cas13b reduced expression of the spike protein and attenuated viral replication by 99%. It also inhibited the replication of multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, exhibiting broad potency. We validated the therapeutic efficacy of this system in SARS-CoV-2-infected hACE2 transgenic mice, demonstrating that crRNA treatment significantly reduced viral titers. Our findings suggest that the pseudoknot region is a strategic site for targeted genomic degradation of SARS-CoV-2. Hence, pseudoknot-targeting Cas13b could be a breakthrough therapy for overcoming infections by SARS-CoV-2 or other RNA viruses.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ymthe.2023.03.018

    View details for PubMedID 36945774

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10028249

  • Optogenetic control of mRNA localization and translation in live cells. Nature cell biology Kim, N. Y., Lee, S., Yu, J., Kim, N., Won, S. S., Park, H., Heo, W. D. 2020; 22 (3): 341-352


    Despite efforts to visualize the spatio-temporal dynamics of single messenger RNAs, the ability to precisely control their function has lagged. This study presents an optogenetic approach for manipulating the localization and translation of specific mRNAs by trapping them in clusters. This clustering greatly amplified reporter signals, enabling endogenous RNA-protein interactions to be clearly visualized in single cells. Functionally, this sequestration reduced the ability of mRNAs to access ribosomes, markedly attenuating protein synthesis. A spatio-temporally resolved analysis indicated that sequestration of endogenous β-actin mRNA attenuated cell motility through the regulation of focal-adhesion dynamics. These results suggest a mechanism highlighting the indispensable role of newly synthesized β-actin protein for efficient cell migration. This platform may be broadly applicable for use in investigating the spatio-temporal activities of specific mRNAs in various biological processes.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41556-020-0468-1

    View details for PubMedID 32066905