Mechanism of foreign DNA recognition by a CRISPR RNA-guided surveillance complex from Pseudomonas aeruginosa


The Type I-F CRISPR-mediated (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) adaptive immune system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa consists of two CRISPR loci and six CRISPR-associated (cas) genes. Foreign DNA surveillance is performed by a complex of Cas proteins (Csy1–4) that assemble with a CRISPR RNA (crRNA) into a 350-kDa ribonucleoprotein called the Csy complex. Here, we show that foreign nucleic acid recognition by the Csy complex proceeds through sequential steps, initiated by detection of two consecutive guanine–cytosine base pairs (G–C/G–C) located adjacent to the complementary DNA target. We show that this motif, called the PAM (protospacer adjacent motif), must be double-stranded and that single-stranded PAMs do not provide significant discriminating power. Binding assays performed with G–C/G–C-rich competitor sequences indicate that the Csy complex interacts directly with this dinucleotide motif, and kinetic analyses reveal that recognition of a G–C/G–C motif is a prerequisite for crRNA-guided binding to a target sequence. Together, these data indicate that the Csy complex first interacts with G–C/G–C base pairs and then samples adjacent target sequences for complementarity to the crRNA guide.



Molecular biology


Rollins, M. F., J. T. Schuman, K. Paulus, H. S. T. Bukhari, and B. Wiedenheft. "Mechanism of Foreign DNA Recognition by a CRISPR RNA-Guided Surveillance Complex from Pseudomonas Aeruginosa." Nucleic Acids Research 43, no. 4 (February 8, 2015): 2216-2222. doi:10.1093/nar/gkv094.
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