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High-Fidelity and Rapid Quantification of miRNA Combining crRNA Programmability and CRISPR/Cas13a trans-Cleavage Activity

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-03-15, 00:00 authored by Yuanyue Shan, Xiaoming Zhou, Ru Huang, Da Xing
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression. It has been proved that the aberrant expression of miRNAs is related to disease and miRNAs can serve as potential biomarkers for early tumor diagnosis. The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas13a is a recently discovered CRISPR-RNA (crRNA) guided RNA manipulation tool. The recognition of target RNA can morphologically activate the robust nonspecific trans ribonuclease activity of Cas13a. This unique property makes Cas13a ideal for nucleic acid detection. Herein, we first exploited CRISPR/LbuCas13a to directly detect miRNAs with high specificity and simplicity. A limit of detection (LOD) as low as 4.5 amol was achieved by this one-step assay within 30 min, and the dynamic range spanned 4 orders of magnitude from 10 amol to 100 fmol. More importantly, single nucleotide variation, even at the end of target miRNA, can be discriminated by rationally programmed crRNA. In addition, the practical application ability of this Cas13a/crRNA-based signal amplification strategy was demonstrated by miRNA quantification in complex biological samples (total small RNA). With excellent reliability, sensitivity, and simple to implement features, this method promises a great potential for early diagnosis of miRNA-related disease. Moreover, the systematic analysis of the crRNA design could provide guidance to further develop Cas13a-based molecular diagnoses.

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