CRISPR immunity relies on the consecutive binding and degradation of negatively supercoiled invader DNA by Cascade and Cas3.
ABSTRACT: The prokaryotic CRISPR/Cas immune system is based on genomic loci that contain incorporated sequence tags from viruses and plasmids. Using small guide RNA molecules, these sequences act as a memory to reject returning invaders. Both the Cascade ribonucleoprotein complex and the Cas3 nuclease/helicase are required for CRISPR interference in Escherichia coli, but it is unknown how natural target DNA molecules are recognized and neutralized by their combined action. Here we show that Cascade efficiently locates target sequences in negatively supercoiled DNA, but only if these are flanked by a protospacer-adjacent motif (PAM). PAM recognition by Cascade exclusively involves the crRNA-complementary DNA strand. After Cascade-mediated R loop formation, the Cse1 subunit recruits Cas3, which catalyzes nicking of target DNA through its HD-nuclease domain. The target is then progressively unwound and cleaved by the joint ATP-dependent helicase activity and Mg(2+)-dependent HD-nuclease activity of Cas3, leading to complete target DNA degradation and invader neutralization.
Project description:CRISPR drives prokaryotic adaptation to invasive nucleic acids such as phages and plasmids, using an RNA-mediated interference mechanism. Interference in type I CRISPR-Cas systems requires a targeting Cascade complex and a degradation machine, Cas3, which contains both nuclease and helicase activities. Here we report the crystal structures of Thermobifida fusca Cas3 bound to single-stranded (ss) DNA substrate and show that it is an obligate 3'-to-5' ssDNase that preferentially accepts substrate directly from the helicase moiety. Conserved residues in the HD-type nuclease coordinate two irons for ssDNA cleavage. We demonstrate ATP coordination and conformational flexibility of the SF2-type helicase domain. Cas3 is specifically guided toward Cascade-bound target DNA by a PAM sequence, through physical interactions with both the nontarget substrate strand and the CasA protein. The sequence of recognition events ensures well-controlled DNA targeting and degradation of foreign DNA by Cascade and Cas3.
Project description:In bacteria, the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated (Cas) DNA-targeting complex Cascade (CRISPR-associated complex for antiviral defense) uses CRISPR RNA (crRNA) guides to bind complementary DNA targets at sites adjacent to a trinucleotide signature sequence called the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM). The Cascade complex then recruits Cas3, a nuclease-helicase that catalyzes unwinding and cleavage of foreign double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) bearing a sequence matching that of the crRNA. Cascade comprises the CasA-E proteins and one crRNA, forming a structure that binds and unwinds dsDNA to form an R loop in which the target strand of the DNA base pairs with the 32-nt RNA guide sequence. Single-particle electron microscopy reconstructions of dsDNA-bound Cascade with and without Cas3 reveal that Cascade positions the PAM-proximal end of the DNA duplex at the CasA subunit and near the site of Cas3 association. The finding that the DNA target and Cas3 colocalize with CasA implicates this subunit in a key target-validation step during DNA interference. We show biochemically that base pairing of the PAM region is unnecessary for target binding but critical for Cas3-mediated degradation. In addition, the L1 loop of CasA, previously implicated in PAM recognition, is essential for Cas3 activation following target binding by Cascade. Together, these data show that the CasA subunit of Cascade functions as an essential partner of Cas3 by recognizing DNA target sites and positioning Cas3 adjacent to the PAM to ensure cleavage.
Project description:In type I CRISPR-Cas system, Cas3-a nuclease cum helicase-in cooperation with Cascade surveillance complex cleaves the target DNA. Unlike the Cascade/I-E, which is composed of five subunits, the Cascade/I-C is made of only three subunits lacking the CRISPR RNA processing enzyme Cas6, whose role is assumed by Cas5. How these differences in the composition and organization of Cascade subunits in type I-C influence the Cas3/I-C binding and its target cleavage mechanism is poorly understood. Here, we show that Cas3/I-C is intrinsically a single-strand specific promiscuous nuclease. Apart from the helicase domain, a constellation of highly conserved residues-which are unique to type I-C-located in the uncharacterized C-terminal domain appears to influence the nuclease activity. Recruited by Cascade/I-C, the HD nuclease of Cas3/I-C nicks the single-stranded region of the non-target strand and positions the helicase motor. Powered by ATP, the helicase motor reels in the target DNA, until it encounters the roadblock en route, which stimulates the HD nuclease. Remarkably, we show that Cas3/I-C supplants Cas3/I-E for CRISPR interference in type I-E in vivo, suggesting that the target cleavage mechanism is evolutionarily conserved between type I-C and type I-E despite the architectural difference exhibited by Cascade/I-C and Cascade/I-E.
Project description:Mobile genetic elements in bacteria are neutralized by a system based on clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins. Type I CRISPR-Cas systems use a "Cascade" ribonucleoprotein complex to guide RNA specifically to complementary sequence in invader double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), a process called "interference." After target recognition by Cascade, formation of an R-loop triggers recruitment of a Cas3 nuclease-helicase, completing the interference process by destroying the invader dsDNA. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of CRISPR interference, we analyzed crystal structures of Cas3 from the bacterium Thermobaculum terrenum, with and without a bound ATP analog. The structures reveal a histidine-aspartate (HD)-type nuclease domain fused to superfamily-2 (SF2) helicase domains and a distinct C-terminal domain. Binding of ATP analog at the interface of the SF2 helicase RecA-like domains rearranges a motif V with implications for the enzyme mechanism. The HD-nucleolytic site contains two metal ions that are positioned at the end of a proposed nucleic acid-binding tunnel running through the SF2 helicase structure. This structural alignment suggests a mechanism for 3' to 5' nucleolytic processing of the displaced strand of invader DNA that is coordinated with ATP-dependent 3' to 5' translocation of Cas3 along DNA. In agreement with biochemical studies, the presented Cas3 structures reveal important mechanistic details on the neutralization of genetic invaders by type I CRISPR-Cas systems.
Project description:Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) is a recently discovered adaptive prokaryotic immune system that provides acquired immunity against foreign nucleic acids by utilizing small guide crRNAs (CRISPR RNAs) to interfere with invading viruses and plasmids. In Escherichia coli, Cas3 is essential for crRNA-guided interference with virus proliferation. Cas3 contains N-terminal HD phosphohydrolase and C-terminal Superfamily 2 (SF2) helicase domains. Here, we provide the first report of the cloning, expression, purification and in vitro functional analysis of the Cas3 protein of the Streptococcus thermophilus CRISPR4 (Ecoli subtype) system. Cas3 possesses a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-stimulated ATPase activity, which is coupled to unwinding of DNA/DNA and RNA/DNA duplexes. Cas3 also shows ATP-independent nuclease activity located in the HD domain with a preference for ssDNA substrates. To dissect the contribution of individual domains, Cas3 separation-of-function mutants (ATPase(+)/nuclease(-) and ATPase(-)/nuclease(+)) were obtained by site-directed mutagenesis. We propose that the Cas3 ATPase/helicase domain acts as a motor protein, which assists delivery of the nuclease activity to Cascade-crRNA complex targeting foreign DNA.
Project description:Type I CRISPR-Cas system features a sequential target-searching and degradation process on double-stranded DNA by the RNA-guided Cascade (CRISPR associated complex for antiviral defense) complex and the nuclease-helicase fusion enzyme Cas3, respectively. Here, we present a 3.7-angstrom-resolution cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the Type I-E Cascade/R-loop/Cas3 complex, poised to initiate DNA degradation. Cas3 distinguishes Cascade conformations and only captures the R-loop-forming Cascade, to avoid cleaving partially complementary targets. Its nuclease domain recruits the nontarget strand (NTS) DNA at a bulged region for the nicking of single-stranded DNA. An additional 4.7-angstrom-resolution cryo-EM structure captures the postnicking state, in which the severed NTS retracts to the helicase entrance, to be threaded for adenosine 5'-triphosphate-dependent processive degradation. These snapshots form the basis for understanding RNA-guided DNA degradation in Type I-E CRISPR-Cas systems.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems protect bacteria and archaea against foreign genetic elements. In Escherichia coli, Cascade (CRISPR-associated complex for antiviral defense) is an RNA-guided surveillance complex that binds foreign DNA and recruits Cas3, a trans-acting nuclease helicase for target degradation. Here, we use single-molecule imaging to visualize Cascade and Cas3 binding to foreign DNA targets. Our analysis reveals two distinct pathways dictated by the presence or absence of a protospacer-adjacent motif (PAM). Binding to a protospacer flanked by a PAM recruits a nuclease-active Cas3 for degradation of short single-stranded regions of target DNA, whereas PAM mutations elicit an alternative pathway that recruits a nuclease-inactive Cas3 through a mechanism that is dependent on the Cas1 and Cas2 proteins. These findings explain how target recognition by Cascade can elicit distinct outcomes and support a model for acquisition of new spacer sequences through a mechanism involving processive, ATP-dependent Cas3 translocation along foreign DNA.
Project description:Cas3 nuclease-helicase is part of CRISPR immunity systems in many bacteria and archaea. In type I CRISPR, Cas3 nuclease degrades invader DNA that has been base-paired to crRNA as an R-loop within a "Cascade" complex. An R-loop is a DNA-RNA hybrid that includes a displaced single-strand DNA loop. Purified Cas3 from E. coli and the archaeon M. thermautrophicus can process R-loops without DNA/RNA sequence specificity and without Cascade. This has potential to affect other aspects of microbial biology that involve R-loops. Regulatory RNAs and host cell proteins modulate replication of ColE1 plasmids (e.g., pUC) from R-loop primers. We observed that Cas3 could override endogenous control of a ColE1 replicon, stimulating uncontrolled ("runaway") replication and resulting in much higher plasmid yields. This effect was absent when using helicase-defective Cas3 (Cas3 (K320L) ) or a non-ColE1 plasmid, and was dependent on RNaseHI. Cas3 also promoted formation of plasmid multimers or concatemers, a phenotype consistent with deregulated ColE1 replication and typical of cells lacking RNaseHI. These effects of Cas3 on ColE1 plasmids are inconsistent with it unwinding R-loops in vivo, at least in this assay. We discuss a model of how Cas3 might be able to regulate RNA molecules in vivo, unless it is targeted to CRISPR defense by Cascade, or kept in check by RecG and RNaseHI.
Project description:Although single-component Class 2 CRISPR systems, such as type II Cas9 or type V Cas12a (Cpf1), are widely used for genome editing in eukaryotic cells, the application of multi-component Class 1 CRISPR has been less developed. Here we demonstrate that type I-E CRISPR mediates distinct DNA cleavage activity in human cells. Notably, Cas3, which possesses helicase and nuclease activity, predominantly triggered several thousand base pair deletions upstream of the 5'-ARG protospacer adjacent motif (PAM), without prominent off-target activity. This Cas3-mediated directional and broad DNA degradation can be used to introduce functional gene knockouts and knock-ins. As an example of potential therapeutic applications, we show Cas3-mediated exon-skipping of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene in patient-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These findings broaden our understanding of the Class 1 CRISPR system, which may serve as a unique genome editing tool in eukaryotic cells distinct from the Class 2 CRISPR system.
Project description:Type I CRISPR systems feature a sequential dsDNA target searching and degradation process, by crRNA-displaying Cascade and nuclease-helicase fusion enzyme Cas3, respectively. Here we present two cryo-EM snapshots of the Thermobifida fusca type I-E Cascade: (1) unwinding 11 bp of dsDNA at the seed-sequence region to scout for sequence complementarity, and (2) further unwinding of the entire protospacer to form a full R-loop. These structures provide the much-needed temporal and spatial resolution to resolve key mechanistic steps leading to Cas3 recruitment. In the early steps, PAM recognition causes severe DNA bending, leading to spontaneous DNA unwinding to form a seed-bubble. The full R-loop formation triggers conformational changes in Cascade, licensing Cas3 to bind. The same process also generates a bulge in the non-target DNA strand, enabling its handover to Cas3 for cleavage. The combination of both negative and positive checkpoints ensures stringent yet efficient target degradation in type I CRISPR-Cas systems.