The Bacterial Enzyme Cas13 Interferes with Neurite Outgrowth from Cultured Cortical Neurons

Qin-Wei Wu, Josef P. Kapfhammer
2021 Toxins  
The CRISPR-Cas13 system based on a bacterial enzyme has been explored as a powerful new method for RNA manipulation. Due to the high efficiency and specificity of RNA editing/interference achieved by this system, it is currently being developed as a new therapeutic tool for the treatment of neurological and other diseases. However, the safety of this new generation of RNA therapies is still unclear. In this study, we constructed a vector expressing CRISPR-Cas13 under a constitutive
more » ... tutive neuron-specific promoter. CRISPR-Cas13 from Leptotrichia wadei was expressed in primary cultures of mouse cortical neurons. We found that the presence of CRISPR-Cas13 impedes the development of cultured neurons. These results show a neurotoxic action of Cas13 and call for more studies to test for and possibly mitigate the toxic effects of Cas13 enzymes in order to improve CRISPR-Cas13-based tools for RNA targeting.
doi:10.3390/toxins13040262 pmid:33916905 fatcat:5kdsodvsljcq7nr63g4hd3fs3u