The Argonautes take us on a new adventure in gene editing
Argonaute proteins are a ubiquitous and highly conserved family that silence gene expression in various ways and with wide-ranging effects. For example, some prokaryotic Argonaute proteins participate in host defence by DNA interference. Eukaryotic proteins control or modulate a wide range of processes through RNA interference. More recently, their role in alternative splicing and DNA double-strand break repair have been reported. Clearly, harnessing these super-molecules for targeted genome editing could have tremendous impact on fields from agriculture to medicine and beyond. The EU-funded ARGO project plans to characterise the structure and function of novel natural variants to engineer synthetic ones. The journey toward future application is beginning with ARGO.
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