Sigma-Aldrich launches breakthrough genome-editing tools
17 September 2008
Sigma-Aldrich (NASDAQ:SIAL) has launched its CompoZr platform of zinc
finger nuclease (ZFN) reagents. The platform of reagents is expected to
provide researchers with the ability to target and precisely manipulate
the genome of living cells, resulting in cell lines or whole organisms
with defined gene deletions, insertions, or corrections.
Initially offered as a customized service for developing ZFNs for
specific gene targets, the CompoZr ZFN platform will eventually include
ZFN-based kits for targeted transgene insertion and a catalog of
off-the-shelf reagents for commonly studied gene targets, gene families,
Applications for Sigma's new platform technology include creation of
knockout and knock-in cell lines, cell lines that yield significantly
greater amounts of protein, and novel transgenic animal models.
Zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) reagents
ZFN reagents are a class of engineered DNA-binding proteins that
facilitate targeted editing of the genome within a living cell by
creating double-strand breaks in DNA at user-specified locations.
Double-strand breaks stimulate the cell's natural DNA-repair
processes, namely homologous recombination and non-homologous end
joining, to induce site-specific mutagenesis.
Using CompoZr reagents, researchers can, for the first time, generate
precisely targeted genomic edits using a rapid, single-step procedure,
resulting in cell lines with permanent and heritable gene deletions,
insertions, or modifications.
Additionally, Sigma-Aldrich is collaborating with leading academic
researchers to demonstrate the effectiveness of ZFNs in the creation of
whole-animal knockout models in mice and other species, including rats
"Zinc Finger Nuclease technology has held significant promise for
more than a decade and is now mature enough to fundamentally alter the
way in which research on living cells and organisms is conducted," said
Dr David Smoller, President of Sigma-Aldrich's Research Biotech Business
Unit. "By refining ZFN production methods and utilizing our established
distribution capabilities, Sigma-Aldrich is making this exciting
technology available to life science researchers worldwide."
By facilitating the creation of complete gene knockout and knock-in
somatic, embryonic and primary cell lines, ZFNs allow researchers to
precisely determine the biological function of a gene in more relevant
backgrounds. It is anticipated that ZFN-mediated genome editing could be
used to generate novel animal models of disease that more closely mimic
human disease, as well as providing more realistic data on the potential
toxicity of new drug compounds.
For biopharmaceutical manufacturers, ZFNs will enable the creation of
cell lines with improved growth characteristics, altered glycosylation
properties, and other traits resulting in higher yields.
Through its exclusive partnership with Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.
(NASDAQ:SGMO), the pioneer in zinc finger nuclease research, Sigma Life
Science is the sole source of validated research reagents incorporating
Sigma Life Science employs high-throughput production methods to
create customized ZFN reagents for user-specified gene targets in just
six to eight weeks. All CompoZr reagents are functionally validated in a
cell line appropriate for the intended organism of interest, and
customers are provided with full protocols for use of their reagents and
troubleshooting support from Sigma Life Science's experienced technical
Sigma-Aldrich has invested over $60 million in its Life Science and
High Technology Center in St. Louis, USA, where over 200 scientists work
to transform cutting-edge research into first-to-market products that
are key to researchers' work in the fields of functional genomics,
proteomics and cell biology using its market-leading RNA interference
tools, whole genome amplification technology and comprehensive Prestige