The ability to withstand viral predation is critical for survival of most microbes. Accordingly, a plethora of phage resistance systems has been identified in bacterial genomes (Labrie et al, 2010), including restriction-modification systems (R-M) (Tock & Dryden, 2005), abortive infection (Abi) (Chopin et al, 2005), Argonaute-based interference (Swarts et al, 2014), as well as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and associated protein (Cas) adaptive immune system (CRISPR-Cas) (Barrangou & Marraffini, 2014; Van der Oost et al, 2014). Predictably, the dark matter of bacterial genomes contains a wealth of genetic gold. A study published in this issue of The EMBO Journal by Goldfarb et al (2015) unveils bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) as a novel, widespread bacteriophage resistance system that provides innate immunity against virulent and temperate phage in bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)