CRISPR/Cas and split enzymes as a simple test for viral infections
Combining CRISPR/Cas9 with split-enzyme readout is a recent development that we have decided to pursue and builds on the project described above. Here we are adapting CRISPR/Cas9 into a sensory tool that will enable detection of any given DNA/RNA sequence directly in cell suspensions circumventing wash-steps and sample preparation, which would otherwise be required. Split-proteins are supplying the readout mechanism for the sensory tool and will generate a visible color-change, if the targeted sequence is present. Similar to “Point-of-care diagnostics of neglected tropical diseases within resource-limited settings”, this sensory tool is broadly applicable and could enable the diagnosis of diseases in resource limited settings. With this project we are initially aiming to diagnose viral infections such as HPV or HIV. However, an intuiting perspective of the technology is to use it for genotyping, in which case the sensory tool would facilitate self-screening for diseases that run in your family. By combining CRISPR/Cas9 with a split-protein readout, we are adapting the CRISPR/Cas9 system into a fast, user friendly and sensitive technology that can detect specific polynucleotide directly in cell suspensions.