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CAS9 Enzyme Our Own Savior

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Let's start this conversation by asking ourselves how the cells protect us against viral genomic antibodies that are not the primary mechanism of biological balance? Now in english, how the cells protect us against viruses?


Well the CAS9 which is a nuclease enzyme that cleaves unwanted viral DNA as it enters the cell is one of the main actors of this movie. So does the POBec3A/3G enzymes which induce viral latency after insertion into the human DNA. These variety of enzymes are now considered central to innate immunity and genetic adaptation of species.

So let's now talk about the famous CRISPR CAS9 technology. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced short Palindromic Repeats. What? Yep that was my thought while I was researching this. So let’s simplify this CRISPR CAS9 process. And let’s actually attach some excerpts of the 2020 Nobel Prize winner, Jennifer Doudna, co developer of the CRISPR gene editing technology that became widely used in gene editing by 2010. In this Ted Talk video Doudna describes the function of CRISPR CAS9 which we’ve been talking about in simple words:


“You may know that the CRISPR technology came about through a basic research project that was aimed at discovering how bacteria fight viral infections. Bacteria Have to deal with viruses in their environment and we can think about a viral infection like a ticking time bomb. A bacterium has only a few minutes to defuse the bomb before it gets destroyed. So many bacteria have in their cells an adaptive immune system called CRISPR that allows them to detect DNA and destroy it.


Part of the CRISPR system is a protein called CAS9 that’s able to seek out, cut and eventually degrade viral DNA in a specific way. And it was in our research to understand the activity of this protein called CAS9 that we realized that we can harness its function as a genetic engineering technology


When viruses infect a cell, they inject their DNA. And in a bacterium the CRISPR system allows that DNA to be plucked out of the virus and inserted in little bits into the chromosome the DNA of the bacterium. And these integrated bits of viral DNA get inserted at a site called CRISPR.


CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced short Palindromic Repeats. Its a mechanism that allows cells to record over time the viruses they’ve been exposed to. And importantly those bits of DNA are passed on to the cells progeny so cells are protected from viruses not only in one generation but over many generations of cells. This allows the cells to keep a record of infection and as my colleague Blake Wiedenheft, likes to say: The CRISPR locus is effectively a genetic vaccination card in cells”.

So in few words CAS9 enzymes are the scissors that cut DNA up. The naturally occurring mechanism of CAS9 (if its not been usurped for genetic engineering) is to actually protect us from viral genetic inputs and so when that 10nth of the 15nth viruses are coursing through our bloodstream CAS9 is one of the primary mechanisms by which we cleave or chop up that genomic information as it flows into a cell so that we don't produce the proteins that the virus is coding for. And so it is in the frontline of the innate immune system.


To sum up all these scientific gibberish our body has this amazing enzyme called CAS9 which its primary mechanisms is to chop up viral genomic information. And we even have our own CRISPR system already in our body!! Like for real! It just amazes me how our bodies are perfectly designed to fight viral infections which in my opinion are just “genomic updates” as previously discussed in a past post “The Virome, A different Perspective”.


So let’s take good care of our bodies. Have a healthy diet full of natural probiotics and fiber (fruits and veggies) and of course if you feel like it the ingestion of supplements (vitamins and minerals) are a great idea, sadly a lot of our food has lost a lot of those minerals including zinc due to the regular use of pesticides. You got this! You are responsible for your own health.


YOU HAVE THE POWER!!

Sources:

Liu, Johnson, M. S. A. J. (2019). Cas9 - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. Science Direct. Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/cas9

GMOs: Engineering the Nature out of Humanity, Webinar Replay with Dr. Zach Bush. (2021, May 7). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF9aoLmWJ-A

How CRISPR lets us edit our DNA | Jennifer Doudna. (2015, November 12). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdBAHexVYzc


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