For a long time the mechanism of immunity provided by the Type III CRISPR-Cas systems appeared to be inconsistent: the Type III-A Csm complex of Staphylococcus epidermidis was first reported to target DNA while Type III-B Cmr complexes were shown to target RNA. This long-standing conundrum has now been resolved by finding that the Type III CRISPR-Cas systems are both RNases and target RNA-activated DNA nucleases. The immunity is achieved by coupling binding and cleavage of RNA transcripts to the degradation of invading DNA. The base-pairing potential between the target RNA and the CRISPR RNA (crRNA) 5'-handle seems to play an important role in discriminating self and non-self nucleic acids; however, the detailed mechanism remains to be uncovered.
Keywords: CRISPR-Cas; Cmr; Csm; autoimmunity; effector complex; target RNA-activated DNA degradation.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.