The discovery and characterization of the prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas immune system has led to a revolution in genome editing and engineering technologies. Despite the fact that most applications emerged after the discovery of the type II-A CRISPR-Cas9 system of Streptococcus pyogenes, its biological importance in this organism has received little attention. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current knowledge about CRISPR-Cas systems from S. pyogenes. We discuss how the interplay between CRISPR-mediated immunity and horizontal gene transfer might have modeled the evolution of this pathogen. We review the current literature about the CRISPR-Cas systems present in S. pyogenes (types I-C and II-A), and describe their distinctive biochemical and functional features. Finally, we summarize the main biotechnological applications that have arisen from the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 system in S. pyogenes.
Keywords: CRISPR; Cas9; Streptococcus pyogenes; adaptive immune system; genome editing; mobile genetic elements; phages.