Intervening Sequences of Regularly Spaced Prokaryotic Repeats Derive from Foreign Genetic Elements

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Title: Intervening Sequences of Regularly Spaced Prokaryotic Repeats Derive from Foreign Genetic Elements
Authors: Mojica, Francisco J.M. | Díez-Villaseñor, César | García-Martínez, Jesús | Soria, Elena
Research Group/s: Microbiología Molecular
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Fisiología, Genética y Microbiología
Keywords: CRISPR | DNA repeats | Conjugative plasmids | Bacteriophages | Lateral gene transfer | Prokaryotic evolution | Pathogenicity
Knowledge Area: Microbiología
Issue Date: Feb-2005
Publisher: Springer Science+Business Media
Citation: Journal of Molecular Evolution. 2005, 60(2): 174-182. doi:10.1007/s00239-004-0046-3
Abstract: Prokaryotes contain short DNA repeats known as CRISPR, recognizable by the regular spacing existing between the recurring units. They represent the most widely distributed family of repeats among prokaryotic genomes, suggesting a biological function. The origin of the intervening sequences, at present unknown, could provide clues about their biological activities. Here we show that CRISPR spacers derive from preexisting sequences, either chromosomal or within transmissible genetic elements such as bacteriophages and conjugative plasmids. Remarkably, these extrachromosomal elements fail to infect the specific spacer-carrier strain, implying a relationship between CRISPR and immunity against targeted DNA. Bacteriophages and conjugative plasmids are involved in prokaryotic population control, evolution, and pathogenicity. All these biological traits could be influenced by the presence of specific spacers. CRISPR loci can be visualized as mosaics of a repeated unit, separated by sequences at some time present elsewhere in the cell.
Sponsor: This work was financed by research grants from the Conselleria de Cultura, Educació i Ciència, Generalitat Valenciana (CTIDIB/2002/155 and gv04B-457). C.D. is supported by a graduate fellowship from the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte.
ISSN: 0022-2844 (Print) | 1432-1432 (Online)
DOI: 10.1007/s00239-004-0046-3
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - Microbiología Molecular - Artículos de Revistas

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