CRISPR/Cas system and its role in phage-bacteria interactions

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2010;64:475-93. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.112408.134123.


Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) along with Cas proteins is a widespread system across bacteria and archaea that causes interference against foreign nucleic acids. The CRISPR/Cas system acts in at least two general stages: the adaptation stage, where the cell acquires new spacer sequences derived from foreign DNA, and the interference stage, which uses the recently acquired spacers to target and cleave invasive nucleic acid. The CRISPR/Cas system participates in a constant evolutionary battle between phages and bacteria through addition or deletion of spacers in host cells and mutations or deletion in phage genomes. This review describes the recent progress made in this fast-expanding field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / immunology*
  • Bacteria / virology*
  • Bacteriophages / genetics*
  • Bacteriophages / growth & development*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Inverted Repeat Sequences
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Sequence Deletion