Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) Hybrid Nucleases for Genome Engineering Application
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AbstractGene targeting is a powerful genome engineering tool that can be used for a variety of biotechnological applications. Genomic double-strand DNA breaks generated by engineered site-specific nucleases can stimulate gene targeting. Hybrid nucleases are composed of DNA binding module and DNA cleavage module. Zinc Finger Nucleases were used to generate double-strand DNA breaks but it suffers from failures and lack of reproducibility. The transcription activator–like effectors (TALEs) from plant pathogenic Xanthomonas contain a unique type of DNA-binding domain that bind specific DNA targets. The purpose of this study is to generate novel sequence specific nucleases by fusing a de novo engineered Hax3 TALE-based DNA binding domain to a FokI cleavage domain. Our data show that the de novo engineered TALE nuclease can bind to its target sequence and create double-strand DNA breaks in vitro. We also show that the de novo engineered TALE nuclease is capable of generating double-strand DNA breaks in its target sequence in vivo, when transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that TALE-based hybrid nucleases can be tailored to bind a user-selected DNA sequence and generate site-specific genomic double-strand DNA breaks. TALE-based hybrid nucleases hold much promise as powerful molecular tools for gene targeting applications.