Genome-Editing Tool Could Revolutionize Biomedical Research

2_1.5_-_Haoquan_WuWest Nile virus is an ongoing global health threat researchers at the Texas Tech University Sciences Center El Paso Department of Biomedical Sciences are working to understand.

It begins with CRISPR-Cas9, a newly developed genome-editing tool that many believe has the potential to revolutionize biomedical research. Based on this technology, a genome-wide knockout screening method has been developed in the lab of Haoquan Wu, Ph.D., assistant professor in the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Biomedical Sciences, to identify the host genes that help West Nile virus (WNV) kill host cells. “It is known that WNV replication kills host cells, such as neuron cells, which is of one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity.” said Dr. Wu. “However, the mechanism(s) behind the virus-induced cell death is poorly understood.”1200 x 1200 - Hongming Ma

Dr. Wu’s research identified seven host genes whose knockout confers strong resistance to WNV-induced cell death, which might provide a therapeutic target for WNV infection. The details to this research were recently published in “Cell Reports”-
a sister journal to “Cell”. Go to http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(15)00675-0 to read more about it.
Manjunath Swamy 1Hongming Ma, Ph.D., post-doctoral research associate, TTUHSC
El Paso Department of Biomedical Sciences, was the first author of this paper. The study is a collaborative project with Manjunath Swamy, M.D., co-director of the TTUHSC El Paso Center of Emphasis in Infectious Diseases.