Nucleic acids research

Regulation of the Type I-F CRISPR-Cas system by CRP-cAMP and GalM controls spacer acquisition and interference.

PMID 26007654


The CRISPR-Cas prokaryotic 'adaptive immune systems' represent a sophisticated defence strategy providing bacteria and archaea with protection from invading genetic elements, such as bacteriophages or plasmids. Despite intensive research into their mechanism and application, how CRISPR-Cas systems are regulated is less clear, and nothing is known about the regulation of Type I-F systems. We used Pectobacterium atrosepticum, a Gram-negative phytopathogen, to study CRISPR-Cas regulation, since it contains a single Type I-F system. The CRP-cAMP complex activated the cas operon, increasing the expression of the adaptation genes cas1 and cas2-3 in addition to the genes encoding the Csy surveillance complex. Mutation of crp or cyaA (encoding adenylate cyclase) resulted in reductions in both primed spacer acquisition and interference. Furthermore, we identified a galactose mutarotase, GalM, which reduced cas operon expression in a CRP- and CyaA-dependent manner. We propose that the Type I-F system senses metabolic changes, such as sugar availability, and regulates cas genes to initiate an appropriate defence response. Indeed, elevated glucose levels reduced cas expression in a CRP- and CyaA-dependent manner. Taken together, these findings highlight that a metabolite-sensing regulatory pathway controls expression of the Type I-F CRISPR-Cas system to modulate levels of adaptation and interference.

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4-Methylumbelliferyl β-D-galactopyranoside, ≥99% (TLC)