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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56470. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056470. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

CRISPR-Cas systems in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 exhibit distinct processing pathways involving at least two Cas6 and a Cmr2 protein.

Author information

1
Genetics and Experimental Bioinformatics Group, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.

Abstract

The CRISPR-Cas (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindrome Repeats--CRISPR associated proteins) system provides adaptive immunity in archaea and bacteria. A hallmark of CRISPR-Cas is the involvement of short crRNAs that guide associated proteins in the destruction of invading DNA or RNA. We present three fundamentally distinct processing pathways in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 for a subtype I-D (CRISPR1), and two type III systems (CRISPR2 and CRISPR3), which are located together on the plasmid pSYSA. Using high-throughput transcriptome analyses and assays of transcript accumulation we found all CRISPR loci to be highly expressed, but the individual crRNAs had profoundly varying abundances despite single transcription start sites for each array. In a computational analysis, CRISPR3 spacers with stable secondary structures displayed a greater ratio of degradation products. These structures might interfere with the loading of the crRNAs into RNP complexes, explaining the varying abundancies. The maturation of CRISPR1 and CRISPR2 transcripts depends on at least two different Cas6 proteins. Mutation of gene sll7090, encoding a Cmr2 protein led to the disappearance of all CRISPR3-derived crRNAs, providing in vivo evidence for a function of Cmr2 in the maturation, regulation of expression, Cmr complex formation or stabilization of CRISPR3 transcripts. Finally, we optimized CRISPR repeat structure prediction and the results indicate that the spacer context can influence individual repeat structures.

PMID:
23441196
PMCID:
PMC3575380
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0056470
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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