In Nature Genetics, a team led by University of Michigan researchers report on the discovery of a long non-coding RNA that promotes aggressive prostate cancer and antagonizes the SWI/SNF chromatin-modifying complex. Based on the findings, the lncRNA, called SChLAP1, appears to contribute to the development of lethal cancer at least in part by antagonizing the tumor-suppressive functions of the SWI/SNF complex.
Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, investigators from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by George Church describe their characterization of a set of fully orthogonal Cas9 proteins and demonstrate their ability to mediate simultaneous and independently targeted gene regulation and editing in bacteria and in human cells. The scientists found that Cas9 orthologs display consistent patterns in their recognition of target sequences, and identified an "unexpectedly versatile" Cas9 protein from Neisseria meningitides. They also provide a basal set of orthogonal RA-guided proteins for controlling biological systems and provide a general methodology for characterizing additional proteins.