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Current opinion in microbiology

Regulation of CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems.


PMID 28359988

Abstract

CRISPR-Cas systems are prokaryotic immune systems that allow defense against invasion by foreign genetic elements. Through the acquisition of genetic memory representing prior exposure, the CRISPR-Cas machinery identifies complementary nucleic acids and mediates their destruction. Since their discovery, CRISPR-Cas research has exploded, with major progress into their mechanism and biotechnological application. In contrast, we are only beginning to understand how CRISPR-Cas activity is regulated. Recent studies have uncovered both conserved regulatory pathways, in addition to more specific mechanisms. Identifying the stimuli linking invasion with CRISPR-Cas activation will be essential in unraveling their ecological roles, evolutionary success and might offer strategies to control immunity for particular applications. We highlight factors impinging on CRISPR-Cas regulation across diverse bacterial and archaeal species.