Evolution and classification of the CRISPR-Cas systems

Kira S. Makarova, Daniel H. Haft, Rodolphe Barrangou, Stan J.J. Brouns, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Philippe Horvath, Sylvain Moineau, Francisco J.M. Mojica, Yuri I. Wolf, Alexander F. Yakunin, John Van Der Oost, Eugene V. Koonin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1272 Scopus citations

Abstract

The CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR-associated proteins) modules are adaptive immunity systems that are present in many archaea and bacteria. These defence systems are encoded by operons that have an extraordinarily diverse architecture and a high rate of evolution for both the cas genes and the unique spacer content. Here, we provide an updated analysis of the evolutionary relationships between CRISPR-Cas systems and Cas proteins. Three major types of CRISPR-Cas system are delineated, with a further division into several subtypes and a few chimeric variants. Given the complexity of the genomic architectures and the extremely dynamic evolution of the CRISPR-Cas systems, a unified classification of these systems should be based on multiple criteria. Accordingly, we propose a 'polythetic' classification that integrates the phylogenies of the most common cas genes, the sequence and organization of the CRISPR repeats and the architecture of the CRISPR-cas loci.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-477
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases

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