Cas9 function and host genome sampling in Type II-A CRISPR-Cas adaptation.
ABSTRACT: To acquire the ability to recognize and destroy virus and plasmid invaders, prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas systems capture fragments of DNA within the host CRISPR locus. Our results indicate that the process of adaptation by a Type II-A CRISPR-Cas system in Streptococcus thermophilus requires Cas1, Cas2, and Csn2. Surprisingly, we found that Cas9, previously identified as the nuclease responsible for ultimate invader destruction, is also essential for adaptation. Cas9 nuclease activity is dispensable for adaptation. In addition, our studies revealed extensive, unbiased acquisition of the self-targeting host genome sequence by the CRISPR-Cas system that is masked in the presence of active target destruction.
Project description:Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins provide microbial adaptive immunity against invading foreign nucleic acids. In type II-A CRISPR-Cas systems, the Cas1-Cas2 integrase complex and the subtype-specific Csn2 comprise the CRISPR adaptation module, which cooperates with the Cas9 nuclease effector for spacer selection. Here, we report the molecular organization of the Streptococcus pyogenes type II-A CRISPR adaptation module and its interaction with Cas9 via Csn2. We determined the crystal structure of S. pyogenes type II-A Cas2. Chromatographic and calorimetric analyses revealed the stoichiometry and topology of the type II-A adaptation module composed of Cas1, Cas2 and Csn2. We also demonstrated that Cas9 interacts with Csn2 in a direct and stoichiometric manner. Our results reveal a network of molecular interactions among type II-A Cas proteins and highlight the role of Csn2 in coordinating Cas components involved in the adaptation and interference stages of CRISPR-mediated immunity.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems capture DNA fragments from invading bacteriophages and plasmids and integrate them as spacers into bacterial CRISPR arrays. In type I-E and II-A CRISPR-Cas systems, this adaptation process is driven by Cas1-Cas2 complexes. Type I-F systems, however, contain a unique fusion of Cas2, with the type I effector helicase and nuclease for invader destruction, Cas3. By using biochemical, structural, and biophysical methods, we present a structural model of the 400-kDa Cas14-Cas2-32 complex from Pectobacterium atrosepticum with bound protospacer substrate DNA. Two Cas1 dimers assemble on a Cas2 domain dimeric core, which is flanked by two Cas3 domains forming a groove where the protospacer binds to Cas1-Cas2. We developed a sensitive in vitro assay and demonstrated that Cas1-Cas2-3 catalyzed spacer integration into CRISPR arrays. The integrase domain of Cas1 was necessary, whereas integration was independent of the helicase or nuclease activities of Cas3. Integration required at least partially duplex protospacers with free 3'-OH groups, and leader-proximal integration was stimulated by integration host factor. In a coupled capture and integration assay, Cas1-Cas2-3 processed and integrated protospacers independent of Cas3 activity. These results provide insight into the structure of protospacer-bound type I Cas1-Cas2-3 adaptation complexes and their integration mechanism.
Project description:CRISPR and associated Cas proteins function as an adaptive immune system in prokaryotes to combat bacteriophage infection. During the immunization step, new spacers are acquired by the CRISPR machinery, but the molecular mechanism of spacer capture remains enigmatic. We show that the Cas9, Cas1, Cas2, and Csn2 proteins of a Streptococcus thermophilus type II-A CRISPR-Cas system form a complex and provide cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of three different assemblies. The predominant form, with the stoichiometry Cas18-Cas24-Csn28, referred to as monomer, contains ?30 bp duplex DNA bound along a central channel. A minor species, termed a dimer, comprises two monomers that sandwich a further eight Cas1 and four Cas2 subunits and contains two DNA ?30-bp duplexes within the channel. A filamentous form also comprises Cas18-Cas24-Csn28 units (typically 2-6) but with a different Cas1-Cas2 interface between them and a continuous DNA duplex running along a central channel.
Project description:Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins provide acquired genetic immunity against the entry of mobile genetic elements (MGEs). The immune defense provided by various subtypes of the CRISPR-Cas system has been confirmed and is closely associated with the formation of immunological memory in CRISPR arrays, called CRISPR adaptation or spacer acquisition. However, whether type II-C CRISPR-Cas systems are also involved in spacer acquisition remains largely unknown. This study explores and provides some definitive evidence regarding spacer acquisition of the type II-C CRISPR-Cas system from Riemerella anatipestifer (RA) CH-2 (RA-CH-2). Firstly, introducing an exogenous plasmid into RA-CH-2 triggered spacer acquisition of RA CRISPR-Cas system, and the acquisition of new spacers led to plasmid instability in RA-CH-2. Furthermore, deletion of cas1 or cas2 of RA-CH-2 abrogated spacer acquisition and subsequently stabilized the exogenous plasmid, suggesting that both Cas1 and Cas2 are required for spacer acquisition of RA-CH-2 CRISPR-Cas system, consistent with the reported role of Cas1 and Cas2 in type I-E and II-A systems. Finally, assays for studying Cas1 nuclease activity and the interaction of Cas1 with Cas2 contributed to a better understanding of the adaptation mechanism of RA CRISPR-Cas system. This is the first experimental identification of the naïve adaptation of type II-C CRISPR-Cas system.
Project description:Streptococcus mutans and its virulent phages are important members of the human oral microbiota. S. mutans is also the primary causal agent of dental caries. To survive in this ecological niche, S. mutans must encode phage defense mechanisms, which include CRISPR-Cas systems. Here, we describe the CRISPR-Cas type II-A system of S. mutans strain P42S, which was found to display natural adaptation and interference activity in response to phage infection and plasmid transformation. Newly acquired spacers were integrated both at the 5' end of the CRISPR locus and ectopically. In comparisons of the cas genes of P42S to those of other strains of S. mutans, cas1, cas2, and csn2 appear to be highly conserved within the species. However, more diversity was observed with cas9 While the nuclease domains of S. mutans Cas9 (SmCas9) are conserved, the C terminus of the protein, including the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) recognition domain, is less conserved. In support of these findings, we experimentally demonstrated that the PAMs associated with SmCas9 of strain P42S are NAA and NGAA. These PAMs are different from those previously reported for the CRISPR-Cas system of the model strain S. mutans UA159. This study illustrates the diversity of CRISPR-Cas type II-A systems that can be found within the same bacterial species.IMPORTANCE CRISPR-Cas is one of the mechanisms used by bacteria to defend against viral predation. Increasing our knowledge of the biology and diversity of CRISPR-Cas systems will also improve our understanding of virus-bacterium interactions. As CRISPR-Cas systems acquiring novel immunities under laboratory conditions are rare, Streptococcus mutans strain P42S provides an alternative model to study the adaptation step, which is still the least understood step in CRISPR-Cas biology. Furthermore, the availability of a natural Cas9 protein recognizing an AT-rich PAM opens up new avenues for genome editing purposes.
Project description:Prokaryotic adaptive immunity is established against mobile genetic elements (MGEs) by 'naïve adaptation' when DNA fragments from a newly encountered MGE are integrated into CRISPR-Cas systems. In Escherichia coli, DNA integration catalyzed by Cas1-Cas2 integrase is well understood in mechanistic and structural detail but much less is known about events prior to integration that generate DNA for capture by Cas1-Cas2. Naïve adaptation in E. coli is thought to depend on the DNA helicase-nuclease RecBCD for generating DNA fragments for capture by Cas1-Cas2. The genetics presented here show that naïve adaptation does not require RecBCD nuclease activity but that helicase activity may be important. RecA loading by RecBCD inhibits adaptation explaining previously observed adaptation phenotypes that implicated RecBCD nuclease activity. Genetic analysis of other E. coli nucleases and naïve adaptation revealed that 5' ssDNA tailed DNA molecules promote new spacer acquisition. We show that purified E. coli Cas1-Cas2 complex binds to and nicks 5' ssDNA tailed duplexes and propose that E. coli Cas1-Cas2 nuclease activity on such DNA structures supports naïve adaptation.
Project description:CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) and the nearby Cas (CRISPR-associated) operon establish an RNA-based adaptive immunity system in prokaryotes. Molecular memory is created when a short foreign DNA-derived prespacer is integrated into the CRISPR array as a new spacer. Whereas the RNA-guided CRISPR interference mechanism varies widely among CRISPR-Cas systems, the spacer integration mechanism is essentially identical. The conserved Cas1 and Cas2 proteins form an integrase complex consisting of two distal Cas1 dimers bridged by a Cas2 dimer. The prespacer is bound by Cas1-Cas2 as a dual-forked DNA, and the terminal 3'-OH of each 3' overhang serves as an attacking nucleophile during integration. The prespacer is preferentially integrated into the leader-proximal region of the CRISPR array, guided by the leader sequence and a pair of inverted repeats inside the CRISPR repeat. Spacer integration in the well-studied Escherichia coli type I-E CRISPR system also relies on the bacterial integration host factor. In type II-A CRISPR, however, Cas1-Cas2 alone integrates spacers efficiently in vitro; other Cas proteins (such as Cas9 and Csn2) have accessory roles in the biogenesis phase of prespacers. Here we present four structural snapshots from the type II-A system of Enterococcus faecalis Cas1 and Cas2 during spacer integration. Enterococcus faecalis Cas1-Cas2 selectively binds to a splayed 30-base-pair prespacer bearing 4-nucleotide 3' overhangs. Three molecular events take place upon encountering a target: first, the Cas1-Cas2-prespacer complex searches for half-sites stochastically, then it preferentially interacts with the leader-side CRISPR repeat, and finally, it catalyses a nucleophilic attack that connects one strand of the leader-proximal repeat to the prespacer 3' overhang. Recognition of the spacer half-site requires DNA bending and leads to full integration. We derive a mechanistic framework to explain the stepwise spacer integration process and the leader-proximal preference.
Project description:The type I-F CRISPR adaptive immune system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA14) consists of two CRISPR loci and six CRISPR-associated (cas) genes. Type I-F systems rely on a CRISPR RNA (crRNA)-guided surveillance complex (Csy complex) to bind foreign DNA and recruit a trans-acting nuclease (i.e., Cas2/3) for target degradation. In most type I systems, Cas2 and Cas3 are separate proteins involved in adaptation and interference, respectively. However, in I-F systems, these proteins are fused into a single polypeptide. Here we use biochemical and structural methods to show that two molecules of Cas2/3 assemble with four molecules of Cas1 (Cas2/32:Cas14) into a four-lobed propeller-shaped structure, where the two Cas2 domains form a central hub (twofold axis of symmetry) flanked by two Cas1 lobes and two Cas3 lobes. We show that the Cas1 subunits repress Cas2/3 nuclease activity and that foreign DNA recognition by the Csy complex activates Cas2/3, resulting in bidirectional degradation of DNA targets. Collectively, this work provides a structure of the Cas1-2/3 complex and explains how Cas1 and the target-bound Csy complex play opposing roles in the regulation of Cas2/3 nuclease activity.
Project description:During primed CRISPR adaptation spacers are preferentially selected from DNA recognized by CRISPR interference machinery, which in the case of Type I CRISPR-Cas systems consists of CRISPR RNA (crRNA) bound effector Cascade complex that locates complementary targets, and Cas3 executor nuclease/helicase. A complex of Cas1 and Cas2 proteins is capable of inserting new spacers in the CRISPR array. Here, we show that in Escherichia coli cells undergoing primed adaptation, spacer-sized fragments of foreign DNA are associated with Cas1. Based on sensitivity to digestion with nucleases, the associated DNA is not in a standard double-stranded state. Spacer-sized fragments are cut from one strand of foreign DNA in Cas1- and Cas3-dependent manner. These fragments are generated from much longer S1-nuclease sensitive fragments of foreign DNA that require Cas3 for their production. We propose that in the course of CRISPR interference Cas3 generates fragments of foreign DNA that are recognized by the Cas1-Cas2 adaptation complex, which excises spacer-sized fragments and channels them for insertion into CRISPR array.
Project description:Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) loci and their associated (Cas) proteins provide adaptive immunity against viral infection in prokaryotes. Upon infection, short phage sequences known as spacers integrate between CRISPR repeats and are transcribed into small RNA molecules that guide the Cas9 nuclease to the viral targets (protospacers). Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 cleavage of the viral genome requires the presence of a 5'-NGG-3' protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) sequence immediately downstream of the viral target. It is not known whether and how viral sequences flanked by the correct PAM are chosen as new spacers. Here we show that Cas9 selects functional spacers by recognizing their PAM during spacer acquisition. The replacement of cas9 with alleles that lack the PAM recognition motif or recognize an NGGNG PAM eliminated or changed PAM specificity during spacer acquisition, respectively. Cas9 associates with other proteins of the acquisition machinery (Cas1, Cas2 and Csn2), presumably to provide PAM-specificity to this process. These results establish a new function for Cas9 in the genesis of prokaryotic immunological memory.