CRISPR-Cas mechanism of action

CRISPR-Cas is both a bacterial immune defense system and a derived suite of tools and technologies for gene editing, visualization, and regulation. The discovery and re-engineering of these tools has been amongst the most groundbreaking milestones in biochemistry in the 21st century. Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their contributions to the development of a gene-editing method based on the CRISPR-Cas9 effector.

Project goal

Create an educational animation about CRISPR-Cas effectors and technology
Native Cas9 effector
Bacteriophage approaching bacterial cell
Cas9 complex on DNA
"Molecular animations are an essential way to demystify and explain complex biological systems. Through the use of stunning imagery and attention to detail, Visual Science has captured the dynamic mechanisms of CRISPR-Cas proteins and their use as research tools.”
Cas9 fused with Krueppel-associated domain
Cellular vesicles and cytoskeleton
Repeats and spacers in bacterial CRISPR loci
"Attention to detail, beautiful imagery and in-depth information about the CRISPR-Cas mechanisms. This is a perfect example of how complex biochemical processes on the molecular level can be visualized. Visual Science has produced excellent work!"

The Process

Animation type:
High end 3D + 2D
Project timline:
16 weeks
10+ zoom calls and e-mail feedback sessions
Find out which of our 26 scientific animation options works best for investor relations and communications in 2023:
We collaborated with molecular and computational biologists from a range of universities and laboratories to create this animation. The process entailed extensive molecular modeling and dynamic simulation, with the aim of generating generate scientifically accurate models of various CRISPR effectors, recreating their functions and depicting the intracellular environments in which these molecular complexes operate. From many perspectives, this project marked an innovative breakthrough for the Visual Science team, and garnered significant positive feedback from prominent scientists in the field. Collaborative educational projects like this one can be undertaken in partnership with large scientific and educational institutions to raise public awareness of scientific breakthroughs.

Why we used this animation type?

This high-end 3D animation showcases both natural (bacterial) and genetically-engineered CRISPR systems, while explaining their potential applications for human gene editing. To ensure the utmost accuracy in these visualizations, we employed our most advanced approach, applying the full array of computational biology methods available to our team. The animation's visual style is the product of sophisticated collaboration between multiple lookdev and compositing artists. In several scenes throughout the animation, we incorporated schematic 2D overlays to help the viewer navigate the visuals, enhancing comprehension of complex molecular structures.

Full animation

Case study animation

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