The structural biology of CRISPR-Cas systems

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2015 Feb;30:100-111. doi: 10.1016/j.sbi.2015.02.002. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Abstract

Prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas genomic loci encode RNA-mediated adaptive immune systems that bear some functional similarities with eukaryotic RNA interference. Acquired and heritable immunity against bacteriophage and plasmids begins with integration of ∼30 base pair foreign DNA sequences into the host genome. CRISPR-derived transcripts assemble with CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins to target complementary nucleic acids for degradation. Here we review recent advances in the structural biology of these targeting complexes, with a focus on structural studies of the multisubunit Type I CRISPR RNA-guided surveillance and the Cas9 DNA endonuclease found in Type II CRISPR-Cas systems. These complexes have distinct structures that are each capable of site-specific double-stranded DNA binding and local helix unwinding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins / chemistry*
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics*
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / physiology*
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Escherichia coli
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Models, Molecular*

Substances

  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins