Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPR, has been widely accepted as a versatile genome editing tool with significant potential for medical application. Reliable allele specificity is one of the most critical elements for successful application of this technology to develop high-precision therapeutics and diagnostics. CRISPR-based genome editing tools achieve high-fidelity distinction of single-base differences in target genomic loci by structural identification of CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins and sequences of the guide RNAs. In this review, we describe the structural features of ribonucleoprotein complex formation by CRISPR proteins and guide RNAs that eventually recognize target DNA sequences. This structural understanding provides the basis for the recent applications of enhanced single-base precision genome editing technologies for effective distinction of specific alleles.
Keywords : CRISPR system; genome editing; allele specificity; gene therapy; diagnosis