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Mary Gearing

Mary Gearing is a Scientist at Addgene. She got her start as a Science Communications Intern writing for the Addgene blog and website. As a full-time Addgenie, she still enjoys blogging about CRISPR and other cool plasmids!

Recent Posts

CRISPR 101: RNA Editing with Cas13 and REPAIR

Posted by Mary Gearing on Nov 30, 2017 9:01:02 AM

Cas13 enzymes are quickly becoming major players in the CRISPR field. Just a year after Abudayyeh et al. (2016) identified Cas13a (C2c2) as a RNA-targeting CRISPR enzyme, Cox et al. have adapted Cas13b for precise RNA editing. This new system, termed REPAIR (RNA editing for programmable A to I (G) replacement) is the first CRISPR tool for RNA editing, and it displays high specificity and targeting flexibility. We’ll walk through how this tool was developed and potential ways you can use it in your research.

Find the plasmids from Cox et al. here!

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Topics: CRISPR, CRISPR 101

Human Germline Editing Using CRISPR

Posted by Mary Gearing on Aug 10, 2017 10:19:54 AM

Any hint of CRISPR editing in human embryos has been met with a storm of media coverage. But the paper published August 2nd in Nature gives us even more to talk about, as it represents another step towards CRISPR germline editing of disease-causing mutations. But how close are we really, and what new questions does this paper bring up? We’ll sift through the paper to understand what Shoukhrat Mitalipov and his colleagues have achieved, and how the field will move forward from this work.

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Topics: CRISPR

Visualizing Translation at the Single Molecule Level

Posted by Mary Gearing on Aug 1, 2017 9:15:16 AM

Regulating translation is key to cellular function, especially during development or stress. With ribosome profiling, researchers have been able to study the effects of various stimuli on global translation, but a visual technique to study translation remained elusive. Two techniques developed by Addgene depositors have made it easier to track translation in two different ways: by monitoring the first round of translation or by tracking the translation of a single mRNA over time. Both are helping researchers explore the complexity of translational control in cellular physiology.

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Topics: Fluorescent Proteins

Luminescent Imaging with Nano-lanterns

Posted by Mary Gearing on May 25, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Fluorescent imaging techniques have become indispensable tools for molecular and cell biologists over the last two decades, but their use can be limited by a few caveats. Since fluorescent proteins (FP) require external light activation, you can’t use fluorescence to monitor processes directly affected by light. Long-term light exposure can also lead to cellular phototoxicity, and experimental success can be affected by both autofluorescence and photobleaching. Researchers have long been interested in using luminescence to get around these issues, but this solution wasn’t practical due to the low intensity of luminescent proteins. To make luminescent imaging a reality, Addgene depositor Takeharu Nagai and colleagues at Osaka University have developed Nano-lantern technology. Nano-lanterns contain a Renilla luciferase variant fused to an FP; when supplied with a luciferase substrate, the luciferase transfers energy to the FP, resulting in a fluorescent signal. Since their first publication in 2012, the Nagai laboratory has assembled a collection of multicolored nano-lanterns for use in various applications, including optogenetics, biosensors, and fusion proteins.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Fluorescent Proteins

Plasmids 101: SunTag and Fluorescent Imaging

Posted by Mary Gearing on Mar 28, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Quick Announcement from the Plasmids 101 Team: In preparation for the release of Addgene's Fluorescent Protein eBook - our next couple of plasmids 101 posts will gain a healthy, fluorescent glow. Stay tuned for more fluorescence-based Plasmid 101 posts in the coming weeks!

In biology as in life, more is often better. More transcription factor binding sites in a promoter lead to higher transcriptional activation. Multiple nuclear localization signals (NLS) increase protein import into the nucleus. In developing their SunTag technology, the Vale and Weissman labs took this biological lesson and created a system to amplify fluorescent signals. Named for the "stellar explosion SUperNova," SunTag can help you turn up the brightness in your fluorescent imaging experiments.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Plasmids 101, Fluorescent Proteins

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