CRISPR-Cas in Streptococcus pyogenes

RNA Biol. 2019 Apr;16(4):380-389. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2019.1582974. Epub 2019 Mar 11.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics*
  • Genetic Loci
  • RNA / biosynthesis
  • RNA Interference
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / genetics*


  • RNA

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft;German Research Foundation (DFG) [Leibniz Prize].