CRISPR-Cas-mediated defense utilizes information stored as spacers in CRISPR arrays to defend against genetic invaders. We define the mode of target interference and role in antiviral defense for two CRISPR-Cas systems in Marinomonas mediterranea. One system (type I-F) targets DNA. A second system (type III-B) is broadly capable of acquiring spacers in either orientation from RNA and DNA, and exhibits transcription-dependent DNA interference. Examining resistance to phages isolated from Mediterranean seagrass meadows, we found that the type III-B machinery co-opts type I-F CRISPR-RNAs. Sequencing and infectivity assessments of related bacterial and phage strains suggests an "arms race" in which phage escape from the type I-F system can be overcome through use of type I-F spacers by a horizontally-acquired type III-B system. We propose that the phage-host arms race can drive selection for horizontal uptake and maintenance of promiscuous type III interference modules that supplement existing host type I CRISPR-Cas systems.
- Andrew Z Fire
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Blake Wiedenheft, Montana State University, United States
© 2017, Silas et al.
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