Homing endonucleases: from basics to therapeutic applications

Homing endonucleases (HE) are double-stranded DNAses that target large recognition sites (12-40 bp). HE-encoding sequences are usually embedded in either introns or inteins. Their recognition sites are extremely rare, with none or only a few of these sites present in a mammalian-sized genome. However, these enzymes, unlike standard restriction endonucleases, tolerate some sequence degeneracy within their recognition sequence. Several members of this enzyme family have been used as templates to engineer tools to cleave DNA sequences that differ from their original wild-type targets. These custom HEs can be used to stimulate double-strand break homologous recombination in cells, to induce the repair of defective genes with very low toxicity levels. The use of tailored HEs opens up new possibilities for gene therapy in patients with monogenic diseases that can be treated ex vivo. This review provides an overview of recent advances in this field.

Published in:
Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS, 67, 5, 727-48
Springer Verlag

 Record created 2016-11-17, last modified 2019-01-08

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