Martin Schiller (Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine) and the Schiller Laboratory of Applied Bioinformatics, Christy Strong (Life Sciences), Ronald Benjamin, Omoyemwen Igbinedion (both Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine), and peers at other institutions recently published a review article titled “TALEN Gene Editing Takes Aim on HIV” in Human Genetics. The article expands upon their recent work by compiling an up-to-date overview of the advancements in the field of gene editing through transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) with respect to HIV treatment.
TALENs are engineered types of nucleases (enzymes that cut DNA at a precise point) that can bind to and thereby excise targeted DNA sequences. The review explores the application of TALENs toward the eradication of HIV, discussing the potential of TALENs to target host human proteins and also segments of the HIV genome necessary to viral replication. The review also covers the TALENs modifications that can improve gene-editing efficiency and reduce off-target editing; the modes by which TALENs can be delivered into cells; and the humanized animal models informing the study of TALENs as a potentially viable HIV treatment therapy.