HIV Can Develop Resistance To CRISPR/Cas9 Gene-Editing

Posted: Apr 8 2016, 9:09am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


HIV can Develop Resistance to CRISPR/Cas9 Gene-Editing
This visual abstract depics how HIV-1 can escape Cas9/sgRNA-mediated inhibition. The researchers reveal that the NHEJ repair machinery generates mutations in the HIV-1 Cas9 cleavage site that result in two outcomes: viral replication suppression and viral escape. Credit: Wang et al./Cell Reports
  • CRISPR/Cas9 is Something that the HIV Virus can become Immune to

It has been found that the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology is something that the HIV virus can ultimately become immune to.

The CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology may need to be finetuned even further if it is to counter viral diseases. A study published in a journal recently showed this trend.

When this gene editing technology was employed to cause mutations in cellular DNA, some new facts came to light. While single mutations can inhibit viral multiplication, in some of the cases, resistance was offered by the virus to any attempts to mutate it in any way. 

Maybe in the future multiple DNA sites of the virus will have to be focused upon for CRISPR/Cas9 technology to work effectively. When HIV enters a cell, its RNA is transformed into DNA.

This misgenenates with the cellular DNA. It is here that CRISPR technology can be employed to surgically create a cleavage between the viral DNA and cellular DNA.

The only issue is that HIV is very good at the task of survival in a foreign environment. It flourishes when new mutations take place. Thus while many of the offshoots of the virus are killed off easily, there are a few that manage to survive. 

The sequencing of the viral RNA of HIV that has managed to escape CRISPR technology shows this phenomenon of a wild rogue element found in the HIV’s repertoire. It is not the problems with viral reverse transcriptase that concern scientists.

Rather it is the mutations that are fed by cellular machinery at a genetic level that are the Gordian Knot that must be cut. This is meant to repair broken DNA strands.

Some of these mutations are very small. The mutations change the sequence so that CRISPR technology no longer recognizes these foreign agents that have to be destroyed. So for all purposes, the job remains undone.   

The deadly virus thus continues to replicate and it cannot be stopped even by using this latest technique in gene editing. The study is a warning to scientists not to relax and let down their defenses when it comes to HIV.

The viral agent is a crafty one and it can escape detection even by the most advanced tools ever devised by man. The solution to this gap in gene surgery will be forthcoming with the future times as science makes even more progress in its relentless drive to conquer Nature.   

The study was published on April 7 in the journal Cell Reports

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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