Get an early preview of the new iBridge Network

Access new technology search features and an extended innovation database with new transformative technologies
fed into the platform by our member Academic Institutions, Research Labs, SMEs, Startups


CRISPR Based System for Targeted Reduction of Gene Expression

Emory University
posted on 05/07/2013


A CRISPR based gene silencing system using sequence specific RNA to repress expression of endogenous transcripts.

Key Benefits
  • Provides a platform to target specific mRNA transcripts in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
  • Potential therapeutic strategy against pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
Market Summary

Since the discovery of silencing genes through RNA interference (RNAi), researchers have spent over $10 billion in obtaining small RNAs. RNAi is an indispensable tool to study gene function and is extensively utilized in basic research as well as drug discovery. Due to the ability to specifically target a disease causing protein, RNAi offers the capability to develop personalized treatment. Use of RNAi requires overcoming the hurdle of delivering RNAi systemically and limiting potential side effects. There are no current RNAi drugs on the market, but 22 clinical trials are progressing for ocular and retinal disorders, cancer, kidney disease, and antivirals. Concerns over off target effects, stimulation of immune response, and perturbation to endogenous RNAi machinery have halted previous clinical trials. A method to silence RNA through an alternative pathway may eliminate these pitfalls. In addition, reducing gene expression in prokaryotic organisms has not been explored and leaves an opportunity to develop strategies to suppress infectious pathogens.

Technical Summary

Regulation of gene expression is a critical component of adaptive immunity where the host cell recognizes and destroys aberrant nucleic acid. Eukaryotes employ the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway to target mRNA transcripts specifically for destruction, thwarting protein expression. Bacteria do not have a homologous RNAi system, but contain the newly characterized bacterial clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) pathway to modulate gene expression. The CRISPR system has been shown previously to target exogenous DNA, but new research from Emory shows that it can specifically target an endogenous transcript to silence expression.

Researchers at Emory identified that the CRISPR pathway modulates specific bacterial transcripts to promote replication in the host cell without stimulating an immune response. The intracellular pathogen, Francisella novicida, uses CRISPR to repress its endogenous transcript, bacterial lipoprotein (BLP). By reducing BLP expression, F. novicida circumvents toll-like receptor 2 activation to prevent initiation of host defenses and pro-inflammatory pathways. Our researchers propose the use of this system to decrease translation of proteins by targeting specific mRNA transcripts in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

View our Breakfast Club video

Review our Breakfast Club PowerPoint

Innovation Details

File Number: 12224 

IP Protection

License Online

This innovation currently is not available for online licensing. Please contact Lisa Matragrano at Emory University for more information.

Request more info via email request more info

Principal Investigator:

David Weiss David Weiss

Innovations (1)


Timothy Sampson Timothy Sampson

Innovations (1)

Timothy Sampson Timothy Sampson

Innovations (1)

Case Manager:

Lisa Matragrano Lisa Matragrano

Innovations (139)

Download Technology Brief (PDF)

Followed By

Follow this innovation

No one is following this innovation.

Related Tags

Find more innovations

February 11, 2009

13,714 members 17,882 innovations 176 organizations


Alfred R Berkeley, Chairman, Pipeline Financial Group, Inc., Former President and Vice Chairman, Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc.

"Our economy is inextricably intertwined with university innovations. Unfortunately, our country’s short-term outlook often interferes with the long-term possibilities of university research and collaborations with industry and entrepreneurs..."  read more...