Small Molecule-Inducible RNA-Targeting Systems for Temporal Control of RNA Regulation
2020-02-27T07:06:38Z (GMT) by
All aspects of mRNA lifetime and function, including its stability, translational to protein, and trafficking through the cell, are tightly regulated through coordinated post-transcriptional modifications and interactions with a multitude of effector proteins. Despite the increasing recognition of RNA regulation as a critical layer of mammalian gene expression control and its increasing excitement as a therapeutic target, tools to study and control RNA regulatory mechanisms with temporal precision in their endogenous environment are lacking. Here, we present small molecule-inducible RNA-targeting effectors based on our previously-developed CRISPR/Cas-inspired RNA targeting system (CIRTS). The CIRTS biosensor system is based on guide RNA (gRNA)-dependent RNA binding domains that interact with a target transcript using Watson-Crick-Franklin base pair interactions. Addition of a small molecule recruits an RNA effector to the target transcript, thereby eliciting a local effect on the transcript. In this work, we showcase that these CIRTS biosensors can trigger inducible RNA editing, degradation, or translation on target transcripts in a small molecule-dependent manner. We further go on to show that the new CIRTS editor can induce RNA base editing in a small molecule-dependent manner in vivo. Collectively this work provides a useful new set of tools to probe the dynamics of RNA regulatory systems and a new approach to control gene expression at the RNA level.