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RNA Biol. 2013 May;10(5):828-40. doi: 10.4161/rna.24084. Epub 2013 Mar 27.

Programmable plasmid interference by the CRISPR-Cas system in Thermococcus kodakarensis.

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1
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Abstract

CRISPR-Cas systems are RNA-guided immune systems that protect prokaryotes against viruses and other invaders. The CRISPR locus encodes crRNAs that recognize invading nucleic acid sequences and trigger silencing by the associated Cas proteins. There are multiple CRISPR-Cas systems with distinct compositions and mechanistic processes. Thermococcus kodakarensis (Tko) is a hyperthermophilic euryarchaeon that has both a Type I-A Csa and a Type I-B Cst CRISPR-Cas system. We have analyzed the expression and composition of crRNAs from the three CRISPRs in Tko by RNA deep sequencing and northern analysis. Our results indicate that crRNAs associated with these two CRISPR-Cas systems include an 8-nucleotide conserved sequence tag at the 5' end. We challenged Tko with plasmid invaders containing sequences targeted by endogenous crRNAs and observed active CRISPR-Cas-mediated silencing. Plasmid silencing was dependent on complementarity with a crRNA as well as on a sequence element found immediately adjacent to the crRNA recognition site in the target termed the PAM (protospacer adjacent motif). Silencing occurred independently of the orientation of the target sequence in the plasmid, and appears to occur at the DNA level, presumably via DNA degradation. In addition, we have directed silencing of an invader plasmid by genetically engineering the chromosomal CRISPR locus to express customized crRNAs directed against the plasmid. Our results support CRISPR engineering as a feasible approach to develop prokaryotic strains that are resistant to infection for use in industry.

KEYWORDS:

CRISPR; Cas; DNA; RNA; Thermococcus; archaea; hyperthermophile; immune; interference; silencing

PMID:
23535213
PMCID:
PMC3737340
DOI:
10.4161/rna.24084
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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