CRISPR-cas systems: Prokaryotes upgrade to adaptive immunity

Rodolphe Barrangou, Luciano A. Marraffini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

358 Scopus citations

Abstract

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), and associated proteins (Cas) comprise the CRISPR-Cas system, which confers adaptive immunity against exogenic elements in many bacteria and most archaea. CRISPR-mediated immunization occurs through the uptake of DNA from invasive genetic elements such as plasmids and viruses, followed by its integration into CRISPR loci. These loci are subsequently transcribed and processed into small interfering RNAs that guide nucleases for specific cleavage of complementary sequences. Conceptually, CRISPR-Cas shares functional features with the mammalian adaptive immune system, while also exhibiting characteristics of Lamarckian evolution. Because immune markers spliced from exogenous agents are integrated iteratively in CRISPR loci, they constitute a genetic record of vaccination events and reflect environmental conditions and changes over time. Cas endonucleases, which can be reprogrammed by small guide RNAs have shown unprecedented potential and flexibility for genome editing and can be repurposed for numerous DNA targeting applications including transcriptional control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular cell
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 24 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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