Article

Small CRISPR RNAs guide antiviral defense in prokaryotes.

Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, 6703 HB Wageningen, Netherlands.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 09/2008; 321(5891):960-4. DOI: 10.1126/science.1159689
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Prokaryotes acquire virus resistance by integrating short fragments of viral nucleic acid into clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs). Here we show how virus-derived sequences contained in CRISPRs are used by CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins from the host to mediate an antiviral response that counteracts infection. After transcription of the CRISPR, a complex of Cas proteins termed Cascade cleaves a CRISPR RNA precursor in each repeat and retains the cleavage products containing the virus-derived sequence. Assisted by the helicase Cas3, these mature CRISPR RNAs then serve as small guide RNAs that enable Cascade to interfere with virus proliferation. Our results demonstrate that the formation of mature guide RNAs by the CRISPR RNA endonuclease subunit of Cascade is a mechanistic requirement for antiviral defense.

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    ABSTRACT: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) loci and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins form an adaptive immune system that protects prokaryotes against plasmids and viruses. The Cmr complex, a type III-B effector complex, uses the CRISPR RNA (crRNA) as a guide to target RNA. Here, we show that the Cmr complex of Pyrococcus furiosus cleaves RNA at multiple sites that are 6 nt apart and are positioned relative to the 5'-end of the crRNA. We identified Cmr4 as the slicer and determined its crystal structure at 2.8 Å resolution. In the crystal, Cmr4 forms a helical filament that most likely reflects its structural organization in the Cmr complex. The putative active site is located at the inner surface of the filament where the guide and substrate RNA are thought to bind. The filament structure of Cmr4 accounts for multiple periodic cleavage sites on the substrate. Our study provides new insights into the structure and mechanism of the RNA-targeting Cmr complex. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
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