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, 160 (Pt 5), 903-16

Diversification of CRISPR Within Coexisting Genotypes in a Natural Population of the Bloom-Forming Cyanobacterium Microcystis Aeruginosa

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Diversification of CRISPR Within Coexisting Genotypes in a Natural Population of the Bloom-Forming Cyanobacterium Microcystis Aeruginosa

Sotaro Kuno et al. Microbiology.

Abstract

The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) confers adaptive immunity against phages via sequence fragments (spacers) derived from mobile genetic elements (MGEs), thus serving as a memory of past host-phage co-evolution. To understand co-evolutionary dynamics in natural settings, we examined CRISPR diversity in 94 isolates of Microcystis aeruginosa from a small eutrophic pond. Fifty-two isolates possessed the CRISPR and were classified into 22 different CRISPR-related genotypes, suggesting stable coexistence of multiple genotypes with different phage susceptibility. Seven CRISPR-related genotypes showed variation of spacers at the leader-end of the CRISPR, indicating active spacer addition from MGEs. An abundant phylotype (based on the internal transcribed spacer of the rRNA gene) contained different CRISPR spacer genotypes with the same CRISPR-associated cas2 gene. These data suggest that selective phage infection and possibly plasmid transfer may contribute to maintenance of multiple genotypes of M. aeruginosa and that rapid co-evolution within a host-phage combination may be driven by increased contact frequency. Forty-two isolates lacked detectable CRISPR loci. Relative abundance of the CRISPR-lacking genotypes in the population suggests that CRISPR loss may be selected for enhanced genetic exchange.

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