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CRISPR--a widespread system that provides acquired resistance against phages in bacteria and archaea.

Nature reviews. Microbiology

Viral Interference, genetics, Multigene Family, physiology, Interspersed Repetitive Sequences, Genome, Bacterial, Genome, Archaeal, Gene Silencing, DNA, Intergenic, Bacteriophages, Bacterial Proteins, virology, Bacteria, Archaea

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      Abstract

      Arrays of clustered, regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) are widespread in the genomes of many bacteria and almost all archaea. These arrays are composed of direct repeats that are separated by similarly sized non-repetitive spacers. CRISPR arrays, together with a group of associated proteins, confer resistance to phages, possibly by an RNA-interference-like mechanism. This Progress discusses the structure and function of this newly recognized antiviral mechanism.

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      CRISPR provides acquired resistance against viruses in prokaryotes.

      Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) are a distinctive feature of the genomes of most Bacteria and Archaea and are thought to be involved in resistance to bacteriophages. We found that, after viral challenge, bacteria integrated new spacers derived from phage genomic sequences. Removal or addition of particular spacers modified the phage-resistance phenotype of the cell. Thus, CRISPR, together with associated cas genes, provided resistance against phages, and resistance specificity is determined by spacer-phage sequence similarity.
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        Is Open Access

        CRISPRFinder: a web tool to identify clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats

        Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) constitute a particular family of tandem repeats found in a wide range of prokaryotic genomes (half of eubacteria and almost all archaea). They consist of a succession of highly conserved regions (DR) varying in size from 23 to 47 bp, separated by similarly sized unique sequences (spacer) of usually viral origin. A CRISPR cluster is flanked on one side by an AT-rich sequence called the leader and assumed to be a transcriptional promoter. Recent studies suggest that this structure represents a putative RNA-interference-based immune system. Here we describe CRISPRFinder, a web service offering tools to (i) detect CRISPRs including the shortest ones (one or two motifs); (ii) define DRs and extract spacers; (iii) get the flanking sequences to determine the leader; (iv) blast spacers against Genbank database and (v) check if the DR is found elsewhere in prokaryotic sequenced genomes. CRISPRFinder is freely accessible at http://crispr.u-psud.fr/Server/CRISPRfinder.php.
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          RNA interference.

          A conserved biological response to double-stranded RNA, known variously as RNA interference (RNAi) or post-transcriptional gene silencing, mediates resistance to both endogenous parasitic and exogenous pathogenic nucleic acids, and regulates the expression of protein-coding genes. RNAi has been cultivated as a means to manipulate gene expression experimentally and to probe gene function on a whole-genome scale.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.1038/nrmicro1793
            18157154

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