Argonaute-based programmable RNase as a tool for cleavage of highly-structured RNA.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nucleic Acids Res, Volume 46, Issue 16, p.e98 (2018)


<p>The recent identification and development of RNA-guided enzymes for programmable cleavage of target nucleic acids offers exciting possibilities for both therapeutic and biotechnological applications. However, critical challenges such as expensive guide RNAs and inability to predict the efficiency of target recognition, especially for highly-structured RNAs, remain to be addressed. Here, we introduce a programmable RNA restriction enzyme, based on a budding yeast Argonaute (AGO), programmed with cost-effective 23-nucleotide (nt) single-stranded DNAs as guides. DNA guides offer the advantage that diverse sequences can be easily designed and purchased, enabling high-throughput screening to identify optimal recognition sites in the target RNA. Using this DNA-induced slicing complex (DISC) programmed with 11 different guide DNAs designed to span the sequence, sites of cleavage were identified in the 352-nt human immunodeficiency virus type 1 5&#39;-untranslated region. This assay, coupled with primer extension and capillary electrophoresis, allows detection and relative quantification of all DISC-cleavage sites simultaneously in a single reaction. Comparison between DISC cleavage and RNase H cleavage reveals that DISC not only cleaves solvent-exposed sites, but also sites that become more accessible upon DISC binding. This study demonstrates the advantages of the DISC system for programmable cleavage of highly-structured, functional RNAs.</p>