CRISPR-mediated phage resistance and the ghost of coevolution past

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

Bacteria can acquire heritable immunity to viral (phage) enemies by incorporating phage DNA into their own genome. This mechanism of anti-viral defence, known by the acronym CRISPR, simultaneously stores detailed information about current and past enemies and the evolved resistance to them. As a high-resolution genetic marker that is intimately tied with the host-pathogen interaction, the CRISPR system offers a unique, and relatively untapped, opportunity to study epidemiological and coevolutionary dynamics in microbial communities that were previously neglected because they could not be cultured in the laboratory. We briefly review the molecular mechanisms of CRISPR-mediated host-pathogen resistance, before assessing their potential importance for coevolution in nature, and their utility as a means of studying coevolutionary dynamics through metagenomics and laboratory experimentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2097-2103
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Volume277
Issue number1691
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2010

Keywords

  • bacteria
  • phage
  • coevolution
  • evolution
  • epidemiology
  • resistance
  • PROVIDES ACQUIRED-RESISTANCE
  • STANDING GENETIC-VARIATION
  • HOST-PARASITE INTERACTIONS
  • SHORT PALINDROMIC REPEATS
  • LOCAL ADAPTATION
  • CLONAL INTERFERENCE
  • NATURAL-SELECTION
  • ESCHERICHIA-COLI
  • VIRUS-RESISTANCE
  • IMMUNE-SYSTEM

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