CRISPR/Cas, the immune system of Bacteria and Archaea

Philippe Horvath, Rodolphe Barrangou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1161 Scopus citations

Abstract

Microbes rely on diverse defense mechanisms that allow them to withstand viral predation and exposure to invading nucleic acid. In many Bacteria and most Archaea, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) form peculiar genetic loci, which provide acquired immunity against viruses and plasmids by targeting nucleic acid in a sequence-specific manner. These hypervariable loci take up genetic material from invasive elements and build up inheritable DNA-encoded immunity over time. Conversely, viruses have devised mutational escape strategies that allow them to circumvent the CRISPR/Cas system, albeit at a cost. CRISPR features may be exploited for typing purposes, epidemiological studies, host-virus ecological surveys, building specific immunity against undesirable genetic elements, and enhancing viral resistance in domesticated microbes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-170
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume327
Issue number5962
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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