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Evolution of CRISPR RNA recognition and processing by Cas6 endonucleases


Niewoehner, Ole; Jinek, Martin; Doudna, Jennifer A (2014). Evolution of CRISPR RNA recognition and processing by Cas6 endonucleases. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(2):1341-1353.

Abstract

In many bacteria and archaea, small RNAs derived from clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) associate with CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins to target foreign DNA for destruction. In Type I and III CRISPR/Cas systems, the Cas6 family of endoribonucleases generates functional CRISPR-derived RNAs by site-specific cleavage of repeat sequences in precursor transcripts. CRISPR repeats differ widely in both sequence and structure, with varying propensity to form hairpin folds immediately preceding the cleavage site. To investigate the evolution of distinct mechanisms for the recognition of diverse CRISPR repeats by Cas6 enzymes, we determined crystal structures of two Thermus thermophilus Cas6 enzymes both alone and bound to substrate and product RNAs. These structures show how the scaffold common to all Cas6 endonucleases has evolved two binding sites with distinct modes of RNA recognition: one specific for a hairpin fold and the other for a single-stranded 5'-terminal segment preceding the hairpin. These findings explain how divergent Cas6 enzymes have emerged to mediate highly selective pre-CRISPR-derived RNA processing across diverse CRISPR systems.

In many bacteria and archaea, small RNAs derived from clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) associate with CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins to target foreign DNA for destruction. In Type I and III CRISPR/Cas systems, the Cas6 family of endoribonucleases generates functional CRISPR-derived RNAs by site-specific cleavage of repeat sequences in precursor transcripts. CRISPR repeats differ widely in both sequence and structure, with varying propensity to form hairpin folds immediately preceding the cleavage site. To investigate the evolution of distinct mechanisms for the recognition of diverse CRISPR repeats by Cas6 enzymes, we determined crystal structures of two Thermus thermophilus Cas6 enzymes both alone and bound to substrate and product RNAs. These structures show how the scaffold common to all Cas6 endonucleases has evolved two binding sites with distinct modes of RNA recognition: one specific for a hairpin fold and the other for a single-stranded 5'-terminal segment preceding the hairpin. These findings explain how divergent Cas6 enzymes have emerged to mediate highly selective pre-CRISPR-derived RNA processing across diverse CRISPR systems.

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23 citations in Web of Science®
24 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Biochemistry
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Biochemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:02 Jul 2014 14:18
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:56
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0305-1048
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkt922
PubMed ID:24150936
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-96975

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