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Published Online: 20 October 2020

CRISPR-Cas Activators for Engineering Gene Expression in Higher Eukaryotes

Publication: The CRISPR Journal
Volume 3, Issue Number 5


CRISPR-Cas-based transcriptional activators allow genetic engineers to specifically induce expression of one or many target genes in trans. Here we review the many design variations of these versatile tools and compare their effectiveness in different eukaryotic systems. Lastly, we highlight several applications of programmable transcriptional activation to interrogate and engineer complex biological processes.

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Authorship Confirmation Statement

All authors contributed to the writing and revision of the article. The final version of the article was approved by all authors.


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Information & Authors


Published In

cover image The CRISPR Journal
The CRISPR Journal
Volume 3Issue Number 5October 2020
Pages: 350 - 364
PubMed: 33095045


Published online: 20 October 2020
Published in print: October 2020


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J. Armando Casas-Mollano
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; and Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Matthew H. Zinselmeier
Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Samuel E. Erickson
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; and Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Michael J. Smanski* [email protected]
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; and Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.


Address correspondence to: Michael J. Smanski, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities, 1479 Gortner Ave., Room 140, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA, [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Funding Information

J.A.C.M. and M.J.S. are part of a team supported by the Advanced Plant Technologies program, DARPA Award HR001118C0146. M.H.Z. is supported by an NIH NIGMS Biotechnology Training grant NIHT32GM008347.

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