OnTarget: in silico design of MiniPromoters for targeted delivery of expression


MiniPromoters, or compact promoters, are short DNA sequences that can drive expression in specific cells and tissues. While broadly useful, they are of high relevance to gene therapy due to their role in enabling precise control of where a therapeutic gene will be expressed. Here, we present OnTarget (http://ontarget.cmmt.ubc.ca), a webserver that streamlines the MiniPromoter design process. Users only need to specify a gene of interest or custom genomic coordinates on which to focus the identification of promoters and enhancers, and can also provide relevant cell-type-specific genomic evidence (e.g. accessible chromatin regions, histone modifications, etc.). OnTarget combines the provided data with internal data to identify candidate promoters and enhancers and design MiniPromoters. To illustrate the utility of OnTarget, we designed and characterized two MiniPromoters targeting different cell populations relevant to Parkinson Disease.

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