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Evolution and classification of the CRISPR-Cas systems.

Nature reviews. Microbiology

Adaptive Immunity, Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid, Phylogeny, Genome, Bacterial, genetics, classification, Bacterial Proteins, Archaeal Proteins, Archaea

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      Abstract

      The CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR-associated proteins) modules are adaptive immunity systems that are present in many archaea and bacteria. These defence systems are encoded by operons that have an extraordinarily diverse architecture and a high rate of evolution for both the cas genes and the unique spacer content. Here, we provide an updated analysis of the evolutionary relationships between CRISPR-Cas systems and Cas proteins. Three major types of CRISPR-Cas system are delineated, with a further division into several subtypes and a few chimeric variants. Given the complexity of the genomic architectures and the extremely dynamic evolution of the CRISPR-Cas systems, a unified classification of these systems should be based on multiple criteria. Accordingly, we propose a 'polythetic' classification that integrates the phylogenies of the most common cas genes, the sequence and organization of the CRISPR repeats and the architecture of the CRISPR-cas loci.

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      Journal
      21552286
      3380444
      10.1038/nrmicro2577

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