Meet the Team
Due to the simple nature of our dCas13a protein construct, it can be utilized and ‘personalized’ for a variety of purposes. Our main objectives range from ‘near’ future, to ‘future’.
Although the processes within the central dogma have been studied and thoroughly characterized, recent studies suggest mRNA localization is a way of controlling and regulating protein production. ¹ This mechanism appears to be similar to an induced suppressor that binds to DNA, thereby preventing its transcription, except there are significantly more (regulating) factors involved. Unfortunately, our knowledge is very limited as mRNA’s dynamic nature makes it significantly more difficult to study. As our protein, LuCAS, has the ability to attach to, and track any RNA, given it has its complementary crRNA sequence, the main objective is to track and investigate mRNA localization. LuCAS is sensitive and selective to singular basepairs, making it a reliable tracking tool without altering the cell and its intracellular function itself.
When making the LB we also made another litre batch and added 15g of agar extract to be able to grow bacteria on plates.
In a variety of disease states, mRNA could be used as a ‘biomarker’ and therapeutic target. Oncogenes for example, such as Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), are often overexpressed early in cancers and treatment courses based on the type of mutations causing the cancer have been shown to be crucial to treatment success; in this case for example, tyrosine kinase inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies. Tools like LuCAS could potentially quantify and elucidate hyperproliferation and even qualify mRNA as therapeutic target to halt hyper proliferation of key ‘driver’ genes by targeting their mRNA. Furthermore, monitoring mRNA expression in patients suffering chronic viral infections, such as HIV or hepatitis B, can help pinpoint disease progression and aid in treatment path selection, as disease progression varies individually. HIV genes can be classified in early and late expression, with their detection of corresponding mRNA, via LuCAS, helping to narrow down the stage of disease. The possible applications of LuCAS are many, as we simply propose a reliable and selective way to target mRNA in vivo without altering cellular functions; be it for research, diagnostics or therapeutics. ~ LuCas is still a toddler and these are his first baby steps, we can’t wait to see him prosper and grow into a young man that will change the world for the better
Kejiou, N. S. and Palazzo, A. F. (2017), mRNA localization as a rheostat to regulate subcellular gene expression. WIREs RNA, 8: n/a, e1416. doi:10.1002/wrna.1416