Chemical and Biophysical Modulation of Cas9 for Tunable Genome Engineering

ACS Chem Biol. 2016 Mar 18;11(3):681-8. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.5b01019. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


The application of the CRISPR-Cas9 system for genome engineering has revolutionized the ability to interrogate genomes of mammalian cells. Programming the Cas9 endonuclease to induce DNA breaks at specified sites is achieved by simply modifying the sequence of its cognate guide RNA. Although Cas9-mediated genome editing has been shown to be highly specific, cleavage events at off-target sites have also been reported. Minimizing, and eventually abolishing, unwanted off-target cleavage remains a major goal of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology before its implementation for therapeutic use. Recent efforts have turned to chemical biology and biophysical approaches to engineer inducible genome editing systems for controlling Cas9 activity at the transcriptional and protein levels. Here, we review recent advancements to modulate Cas9-mediated genome editing by engineering split-Cas9 constructs, inteins, small molecules, protein-based dimerizing domains, and light-inducible systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genome / genetics
  • Protein Binding


  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins