Transposons and CRISPR: Rewiring Gene Editing

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Fulltext

    Final published version, 2.33 MB, PDF document

CRISPR-Cas is driving a gene editing revolution because of its simple reprogramming. However, off-target effects and dependence on the double-strand break repair pathways impose important limitations. Because homology-directed repair acts primarily in actively dividing cells, many of the current gene correction/replacement approaches are restricted to a minority of cell types. Furthermore, current approaches display low efficiency upon insertion of large DNA cargos (e.g., sequences containing multiple gene circuits with tunable functionalities). Recent research has revealed new links between CRISPR-Cas systems and transposons providing new scaffolds that might overcome some of these limitations. Here, we comment on two new transposon-associated RNA-guided mechanisms considering their potential as new gene editing solutions. Initially, we focus on a group of small RNA-guided endonucleases of the IS200/IS605 family of transposons, which likely evolved into class 2 CRISPR effector nucleases (Cas9s and Cas12s). We explore the diversity of these nucleases (named OMEGA, obligate mobile element-guided activity) and analyze their similarities with class 2 gene editors. OMEGA nucleases can perform gene editing in human cells and constitute promising candidates for the design of new compact RNA-guided platforms. Then, we address the co-option of the RNA-guided activity of different CRISPR effector nucleases by a specialized group of Tn7-like transposons to target transposon integration. We describe the various mechanisms used by these RNA-guided transposons for target site selection and integration. Finally, we assess the potential of these new systems to circumvent some of the current gene editing challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number24
Pages (from-to)3521-3532
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ID: 321824310