1887

Abstract

Numerous prokaryote genomes contain structures known as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs), composed of 25–50 bp repeats separated by unique sequence spacers of similar length. CRISPR structures are found in the vicinity of four genes named to . analysis revealed another cluster of three genes associated with CRISPR structures in many bacterial species, named here as , and , and also revealed a certain number of spacers that have homology with extant genes, most frequently derived from phages, but also derived from other extrachromosomal elements. Sequence analysis of CRISPR structures from 24 strains of and confirmed the homology of spacers with extrachromosomal elements. Phage sensitivity of strains appears to be correlated with the number of spacers in the CRISPR locus the strain carries. The authors suggest that the spacer elements are the traces of past invasions by extrachromosomal elements, and hypothesize that they provide the cell immunity against phage infection, and more generally foreign DNA expression, by coding an anti-sense RNA. The presence of gene fragments in CRISPR structures and the nuclease motifs in genes of both cluster types suggests that CRISPR formation involves a DNA degradation step.

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2005-08-01
2019-09-18
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Supplementary Table 1. Homology of CRISPR spacers with database sequences. [ PDF file] (406kb)

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Supplementary Table 2. Homology of spacers with database sequences. [ PDF file] (153kb)

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