Structure of the DNA-Bound Spacer Capture Complex of a Type II CRISPR-Cas System.
ABSTRACT: 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 (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 (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 initial stage of CRISPR-Cas immunity involves the integration of foreign DNA spacer segments into the host genomic CRISPR locus. The nucleases Cas1 and Cas2 are the only proteins conserved among all CRISPR-Cas systems, yet the molecular functions of these proteins during immunity are unknown. Here we show that Cas1 and Cas2 from Escherichia coli form a stable complex that is essential for spacer acquisition and determine the 2.3-Å-resolution crystal structure of the Cas1-Cas2 complex. Mutations that perturb Cas1-Cas2 complex formation disrupt CRISPR DNA recognition and spacer acquisition in vivo. Active site mutants of Cas2, unlike those of Cas1, can still acquire new spacers, thus indicating a nonenzymatic role of Cas2 during immunity. These results reveal the universal roles of Cas1 and Cas2 and suggest a mechanism by which Cas1-Cas2 complexes specify sites of CRISPR spacer integration.
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: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:CRISPR-Cas systems constitute an adaptive immune system that provides acquired resistance against phages and plasmids in prokaryotes. Upon invasion of foreign nucleic acids, some cells integrate short fragments of foreign DNA as spacers into the CRISPR locus to memorize the invaders and acquire resistance in the subsequent round of infection. This immunization step called adaptation is the least understood part of the CRISPR-Cas immunity. We have focused here on the adaptation stage of <i>Streptococcus thermophilus</i> DGCC7710 type I-E CRISPR4-Cas (St4) system. Cas1 and Cas2 proteins conserved in nearly all CRISPR-Cas systems are required for spacer acquisition. The St4 CRISPR-Cas system is unique because the Cas2 protein is fused to an additional DnaQ exonuclease domain. Here, we demonstrate that St4 Cas1 and Cas2-DnaQ form a multimeric complex, which is capable of integrating DNA duplexes with 3'-overhangs (protospacers) <i>in vitro</i> We further show that the DnaQ domain of Cas2 functions as a 3'-5'-exonuclease that processes 3'-overhangs of the protospacer to promote integration.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas immunity requires integration of short, foreign DNA fragments into the host genome at the CRISPR locus, a site consisting of alternating repeat sequences and foreign-derived spacers. In most CRISPR systems, the proteins Cas1 and Cas2 form the integration complex and are both essential for DNA acquisition. Most type V-C and V-D systems lack the cas2 gene and have unusually short CRISPR repeats and spacers. Here, we show that a mini-integrase comprising the type V-C Cas1 protein alone catalyzes DNA integration with a preference for short (17- to 19-base-pair) DNA fragments. The mini-integrase has weak specificity for the CRISPR array. We present evidence that the Cas1 proteins form a tetramer for integration. Our findings support a model of a minimal integrase with an internal ruler mechanism that favors shorter repeats and spacers. This minimal integrase may represent the function of the ancestral Cas1 prior to Cas2 adoption.
Project description:Adaptation in CRISPR-Cas systems enables the generation of an immunological memory to defend against invading viruses. This process is driven by foreign DNA spacer (termed protospacer) selection and integration mediated by Cas1-Cas2 protein. Recently, different states of Cas1-Cas2, in its free form and in complex with protospacer DNAs, were solved by X-ray crystallography. In this paper, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are employed to study crystal structures of one free and two protospacer-bound Cas1-Cas2 complexes. The simulated results indicate that the protospacer binding markedly increases the system stability, in particular when the protospacer containing the PAM-complementary sequence. The hydrogen bond and binding free energy calculations explain that PAM recognition introduces more specific interactions to increase the cleavage activity of Cas1. By using principal component analysis (PCA) and intramolecular angle calculation, this study observes two dominant slow motions associated with the binding of Ca1-Cas2 to the protospacer and potential target DNAs respectively. The comparison of DNA structural deformation further implies a cooperative conformational change of Cas1-Cas2 and protospacer for the target DNA capture. We propose that this cooperativity is the intrinsic requirement of the CRISPR integration complex formation. This study provides some new insights into the understanding of CRISPR-Cas adaptation.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas pathways provide prokaryotes with acquired "immunity" against foreign genetic elements, including phages and plasmids. Although many of the proteins associated with CRISPR-Cas mechanisms are characterized, some requisite enzymes remain elusive. Genetic studies have implicated host DNA polymerases in some CRISPR-Cas systems but CRISPR-specific replicases have not yet been discovered. We have identified and characterised a family of CRISPR-Associated Primase-Polymerases (CAPPs) in a range of prokaryotes that are operonically associated with Cas1 and Cas2. CAPPs belong to the Primase-Polymerase (Prim-Pol) superfamily of replicases that operate in various DNA repair and replication pathways that maintain genome stability. Here, we characterise the DNA synthesis activities of bacterial CAPP homologues from Type IIIA and IIIB CRISPR-Cas systems and establish that they possess a range of replicase activities including DNA priming, polymerisation and strand-displacement. We demonstrate that CAPPs operonically-associated partners, Cas1 and Cas2, form a complex that possesses spacer integration activity. We show that CAPPs physically associate with the Cas proteins to form bespoke CRISPR-Cas complexes. Finally, we propose how CAPPs activities, in conjunction with their partners, may function to undertake key roles in CRISPR-Cas adaptation.
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.