CRISPR method identifies gene fighting Zika virus



CRISPR - a gene editing system - is widely used as a tool for performing genome screenings.Scientists  at Southwestern Medical Center University of Texas have provided information of their successful use of CRISPR to indicate a gene that helps human cells prevent themselves from being infected by flaviviruses like Zika.

It was made possible by "killing off" each separate gene and, subsequently, examining how cells react to a flaviviral infection.The IFI6 gene turned out to be a strong inhibitor, which was announced by the team in the journal Nature Microbiology. Cells with the IFI6 gene demonstrated the inhibition of yellow fever, dengue, as well as such viruses as Zika and the one of West Nile disease.

John Schoggins, professor of microbiology and the team leader, clarified it in the issue that they used liver cells of human origin and distinguished each gene in the genome, totalling about 19,000. Successively, the cells were stimulated with interferon, as it had been known to the researchers that the stimulation would normally lead to the inflammation of a viral infection.

The researchers hope that their studies will provide a basis for the development of therapies against flaviviruses.


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