BMB Rep. 2015; 48(1): 6-12  
Recent advances in developing molecular tools for targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells
Kwang-il Lim*
Department of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Science, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul 140-742, Korea
Received: August 4, 2014; Published online: January 31, 2015.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

Abstract
Various biological molecules naturally existing in diversified species including fungi, bacteria, and bacteriophage have functionalities for DNA binding and processing. The biological molecules have been recently actively engineered for use in customized genome editing of mammalian cells as the molecule-encoding DNA sequence information and the underlying mechanisms how the molecules work are unveiled. Excitingly, multiple novel methods based on the newly constructed artificial molecular tools have enabled modifications of specific endogenous genetic elements in the genome context at efficiencies that are much higher than that of the conventional homologous recombination based methods. This minireview introduces the most recently spotlighted molecular genome engineering tools with their key features and ongoing modifications for better performance. Such ongoing efforts have mainly focused on the removal of the inherent DNA sequence recognition rigidity from the original molecular platforms, the addition of newly tailored targeting functions into the engineered molecules, and the enhancement of their targeting specificity. Effective targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells will enable not only sophisticated genetic studies in the context of the genome, but also widely-applicable universal therapeutics based on the pinpointing and correction of the disease-causing genetic elements within the genome in the near future.
Keywords: Customized gene targeting, Cytotoxicity, DNA binding domains, Genome engineering, Nucleases


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