Summary: CRISPR associated protein
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CRISPR Edit Wikipedia article
CRISPRs (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is an acronym for DNA loci that contain multiple, short, direct repetitions of base sequences. Each repetition contains a series of bases followed by the same series in reverse and then by 30 or so base pairs known as "spacer DNA". The spacers are short segments of DNA from a virus and serve as a 'memory' of past exposures.
CRISPR functions as a prokaryotic immune system, in that it confers resistance to exogenous genetic elements such as plasmids and phages. The CRISPR system provides a form of acquired immunity. CRISPR spacers recognize and silence exogenous genetic elements in a manner analogous to RNAi in eukaryotic organisms.
- 1 History
- 2 Locus structure
- 3 Mechanism
- 4 Evolutionary significance
- 5 Applications
- 6 Mouse models
- 7 CRISPR/Cas system in phage
- 8 Multi-gene targeting
- 9 Reversible knockdown
- 10 Gene activation
- 11 Infrastructure
- 12 Safety
- 13 Alternatives
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Repeats were first described in 1987 for the bacterium Escherichia coli. In 2000, similar clustered repeats were identified in additional bacteria and archaea and were termed Short Regularly Spaced Repeats (SRSR). SRSR were renamed CRISPR in 2002. A set of genes, some encoding putative nuclease or helicase proteins, were found to be associated with CRISPR repeats (the cas, or CRISPR-associated genes). Further in 2005, three independent researchers showed that CRISPR spacers showed homology to several phage DNA and extrachromosomal DNA such as plasmids. This was an indication that the CRSIPR/cas system could have a role in adaptive immunity in bacteria. CRISPR was first shown to work in human cells by George M. Church at Harvard University.
In 2005, three groups reported that spacers often matched phage DNA sequences, indicating a possible role in microbial immunity. Koonin and colleagues proposed that spacers serve as a template for RNA molecules, analogously to eukaryotic cells that use a system called RNA interference.
Doudna and Charpentier had independently been exploring CRISPR-associated proteins to learn how bacteria deploy spacers in their immune defenses. They jointly studied a simpler CRISPR system that relies on a protein called Cas9. They found that bacteria respond to an invading phage by transcribing spacers and palindromic DNA into a long RNA molecule that the cell then uses tracrRNA and Cas9 to cut it into pieces called crRNAs.
Cas9 is a nuclease, an enzyme specialized for cutting DNA, with two active cutting sites, one for each strand of the double helix. The team demonstrated that they could disable one or both sites while preserving Cas9's ability to home located its target DNA. Jinek combined tracrRNA and spacer RNA into a "single-guide RNA" molecule that, mixed with Cas9, could find and cut the correct DNA targets.
Libraries of tens of thousands of guide RNAs are now available.
Repeats and spacers
CRISPR repeats range in size from 24 to 48 base pairs. They usually show some dyad symmetry, implying the formation of a secondary structure such as a hairpin, but are not truly palindromic. Repeats are separated by spacers of similar length. Some CRISPR spacer sequences exactly match sequences from plasmids and phages, although some spacers have identity to the prokaryote's own genome (self-targeting spacers). New spacers can be added rapidly in response to phage infection.
Cas genes and CRISPR subtypes
The CRISPR-associated (cas) genes are often associated with CRISPR repeat-spacer arrays. As of 2013, more than forty different Cas protein families had been described. Of these protein families, Cas1 appears to be ubiquitous among different CRISPR/Cas systems. Particular combinations of cas genes and repeat structures have been used to define 8 CRISPR subtypes (Ecoli, Ypest, Nmeni, Dvulg, Tneap, Hmari, Apern, and Mtube), some of which are associated with an additional gene module encoding repeat-associated mysterious proteins (RAMPs). More than one CRISPR subtype may occur in a single genome. The sporadic distribution of the CRISPR/Cas subtypes suggests that the system is subject to horizontal gene transfer during microbial evolution.
|CRISPR associated protein|
crystal structure of a crispr-associated protein from thermus thermophilus
|CRISPR associated protein Cas2|
crystal structure of a hypothetical protein tt1823 from thermus thermophilus
|CRISPR-associated protein Cse1|
|CRISPR-associated protein Cse2|
Exogenous DNA is apparently processed by proteins encoded by some of the Cas genes into small elements (~30 base pairs in length), which are then somehow inserted into the CRISPR locus near the leader sequence. RNAs from the CRISPR loci are constitutively expressed and are processed by Cas proteins to small RNAs composed of individual exogenously derived sequence elements with a flanking repeat sequence. The RNAs guide other Cas proteins to silence exogenous genetic elements at the RNA or DNA level. Evidence suggests functional diversity among CRISPR subtypes. The Cse (Cas subtype Ecoli) proteins (called CasA-E in E. coli) form a functional complex, Cascade, that processes CRISPR RNA transcripts into spacer-repeat units that Cascade retains. In other prokaryotes, Cas6 processes the CRISPR transcripts. Interestingly, CRISPR-based phage inactivation in E. coli requires Cascade and Cas3, but not Cas1 and Cas2. The Cmr (Cas RAMP module) proteins found in Pyrococcus furiosus and other prokaryotes form a functional complex with small CRISPR RNAs that recognizes and cleaves complementary target RNAs. RNA-guided CRISPR enzymes are classified as type V restriction enzymes.
Through the CRISPR-Cas mechanism bacteria can acquire immunity to certain phages and thus halt further transmission of targeted phages. For this reason, some researchers have proposed that the CRISPR-Cas system is a Lamarckian inheritance mechanism. Others investigated the coevolution of host and viral genomes by analysis of CRISPR sequences.
The proof-of-principle demonstration of selective engineered redirection of the CRISPR-Cas system in 2012 provided a first step toward realization of some of the several proposals for CRISPR-derived biotechnology:
- Artificial immunization against phage by introduction of engineered CRISPR loci in industrially important bacteria, including those used in food production and large-scale fermentation
- Genome engineering at cellular or organismic level by reprogramming of a CRISPR-Cas system to achieve RNA-guided genome engineering. Proof of concept studies demonstrated examples on this front both in vitro and in vivo
- Discrimination of different bacterial strains by comparison of CRISPR spacer sequences
CRISPR simplifies creation of mouse models and reduces the time required to a matter of weeks from months or longer. Knockdown of endogenous genes has been achieved by transfection with a plasmid that contains a CRISPR area with a spacer, which inhibits a target gene. Injecting mouse zygotes with Cas9 and two guide RNAs was able to disable two genes with 80% efficiency. So-called homology-directed repair involves using Cas9 to "nick" DNA, to introduce new gene parts to the zygote.
DuPont used CRISPRs to create improved bacterial strains for food production.
CRISPRs have been used to knockdown genes in rice and wheat.
CRISPR/Cas system in phage
Another way that bacteria can defend against phage infection is by having chromosomal islands. A subtype of chromosomal islands called phage-inducible chromosomal island (PICI) is excised from bacterial chromosome upon phage infection and can inhibit phage replication. The mechanisms that induce PICI excision and how PICI inhibits phage replication are not well understood. One study showed that lytic ICP1 phage that specifically targets Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 has acquired a CRISPR/Cas system that targets a V. cholera PICI-like element. The system has 2 CRISPR loci and 9 Cas genes. It seems to be homologous to the 1-F system found in Yersinia pestis. Moreover, like the bacterial CRISPR/Cas system, ICP1 CRISPR/Cas system can also acquire new sequences, which allows the phage to co-evolve with its host.
CRISPRs have been used to cut as many as five genes at once.
"CRISPRi" like RNAi, turns off genes in a reversible fashion by targeting a site but not cutting. In bacteria, the presence of Cas9 alone is enough to block transcription, but for mammalian applications, a section of protein is added. Its guide RNA targets regulatory DNA, called promoters that immediately precede the gene target.
Cas9 has been used to carry synthetic transcription factors (protein fragments that turn on genes.) This enabled the activation of specific human genes. The technique achieved a strong effect by targeting multiple CRISPR constructs to slightly different spots on the gene's promoter.
The genes included some tied to human diseases, including those involved in muscle differentiation, cancer, inflammation and producing fetal hemoglobin.
Free software is available to design guide RNA to target any desired gene. The Addgene repository offers academics the DNA to make their own CRISPR system for $65. Since the beginning of the year, In 2013 alone Addgene distributed more than 10,000 CRISPR constructs. The facility has received CRISPR-enabling DNA sequences from 11 independent research teams.
Before work proceeds much further on human genomes, improved targeting is required. Guide RNAs have been observed guides targeting sequences that differ by multiple base pairs from the intended sequence.
In the early 2000s, researchers developed zinc finger nucleases, synthetic proteins whose DNA-binding domains enable them to cut DNA at specific spots. Later, synthetic nucleases called TALENs provided an easier way to target specific DNA and were predicted to surpass zinc fingers. They both depend on custom-making new proteins for each DNA target, a more cumbersome procedure than guide RNAs. CRISPRs are more efficient and can target more genes than these earlier techniques.
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- 71/79 Archaea, 463/1008 Bacteria CRISPRdb, Date: 19.6.2010
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- E-CRISP.org A comprehensive software for CRISPR gRNA design
- CRISPR Design Tool
- Tool for finding CRISPRs
- Tool for finding CRISPR targets in other nucleic acids
- Rfam page for the CRISPR entries
This tab holds the annotation information that is stored in the Pfam database. As we move to using Wikipedia as our main source of annotation, the contents of this tab will be gradually replaced by the Wikipedia tab.
CRISPR associated protein Provide feedback
This domain forms an anti-parallel beta strand structure with flanking alpha helical regions.
External database links
This tab holds annotation information from the InterPro database.
InterPro entry IPR010179
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) are a family of DNA direct repeats separated by regularly sized non-repetitive spacer sequences that are found in most bacterial and archaeal genomes [PUBMED:17442114]. CRISPRs appear to provide acquired resistance against bacteriophages, possibly acting with an RNA interference-like mechanism to inhibit gene functions of invasive DNA elements [PUBMED:17379808, PUBMED:16545108]. Differences in the number and type of spacers between CRISPR repeats correlate with phage sensitivity. It is thought that following phage infection, bacteria integrate new spacers derived from phage genomic sequences, and that the removal or addition of particular spacers modifies the phage-resistance phenotype of the cell. Therefore, the specificity of CRISPRs may be determined by spacer-phage sequence similarity.
In addition, there are many protein families known as CRISPR-associated sequences (Cas), which are encoded in the vicinity of CRISPR loci [PUBMED:16292354]. CRISPR/cas gene regions can be quite large, with up to 20 different, tandem-arranged cas genes next to a CRISPR cluster or filling the region between two repeat clusters. Cas genes and CRISPRs are found on mobile genetic elements such as plasmids, and have undergone extensive horizontal transfer. Cas proteins are thought to be involved in the propagation and functioning of CRISPRs. Some Cas proteins show similarity to helicases and repair proteins, although the functions of most are unknown. Cas families can be divided into subtypes according to operon organisation and phylogeny.
This entry represents the Cse3 (CRISPR/Cas Subtype Ecoli protein 3) family of Cas proteins. The Thermus thermophilus HB8 family member has been crystallised and found to have a structure consisting of two domains with opposing parallel beta-sheets, known as a beta-sheet platform [PUBMED:16672237]. This structure is similar to those found in the sex-lethal protein and poly(A)-binding protein and is consistent with an RNA-binding function.
Below is a listing of the unique domain organisations or architectures in which this domain is found. More...
The graphic that is shown by default represents the longest sequence with a given architecture. Each row contains the following information:
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This example describes an architecture with one
Gladomain, followed by two consecutive
EGFdomains, and finally a single
- a link to the page in the Pfam site showing information about the sequence that the graphic describes
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- the number of residues in the sequence
- the Pfam graphic itself.
Note that you can see the family page for a particular domain by clicking on the graphic. You can also choose to see all sequences which have a given architecture by clicking on the Show link in each row.
Finally, because some families can be found in a very large number of architectures, we load only the first fifty architectures by default. If you want to see more architectures, click the button at the bottom of the page to load the next set.
Loading domain graphics...
We store a range of different sequence alignments for families. As well as the seed alignment from which the family is built, we provide the full alignment, generated by searching the sequence database using the family HMM. We also generate alignments using four representative proteomes (RP) sets, the NCBI sequence database, and our metagenomics sequence database. More...
There are various ways to view or download the sequence alignments that we store. We provide several sequence viewers and a plain-text Stockholm-format file for download.
We make a range of alignments for each Pfam-A family:
- the curated alignment from which the HMM for the family is built
- the alignment generated by searching the sequence database using the HMM
- Representative Proteomes (RPs) at 15%, 35%, 55% and 75% co-membership thresholds
- alignment generated by searching the NCBI sequence database using the family HMM
- alignment generated by searching the metagenomics sequence database using the family HMM
You can see the alignments as HTML or in three different sequence viewers:
- a Java applet developed at the University of Dundee. You will need Java installed before running jalview
- an HTML page showing the whole alignment.Please note: full Pfam alignments can be very large. These HTML views are extremely large and often cause problems for browsers. Please use either jalview or the Pfam viewer if you have trouble viewing the HTML version
- an HTML-based representation of the alignment, coloured according to the posterior-probability (PP) values from the HMM. As for the standard HTML view, heatmap alignments can also be very large and slow to render.
- Pfam viewer
- an HTML-based viewer that uses DAS to retrieve alignment fragments on request
You can download (or view in your browser) a text representation of a Pfam alignment in various formats:
You can also change the order in which sequences are listed in the alignment, change how insertions are represented, alter the characters that are used to represent gaps in sequences and, finally, choose whether to download the alignment or to view it in your browser directly.
You may find that large alignments cause problems for the viewers and the reformatting tool, so we also provide all alignments in Stockholm format. You can download either the plain text alignment, or a gzipped version of it.
We make a range of alignments for each Pfam-A family. You can see a description of each above. You can view these alignments in various ways but please note that some types of alignment are never generated while others may not be available for all families, most commonly because the alignments are too large to handle.
1Cannot generate PP/Heatmap alignments for seeds; no PP data available
Key: available, not generated, — not available.
Format an alignment
We make all of our alignments available in Stockholm format. You can download them here as raw, plain text files or as gzip-compressed files.
You can also download a FASTA format file containing the full-length sequences for all sequences in the full alignment.
MyHits provides a collection of tools to handle multiple sequence alignments. For example, one can refine a seed alignment (sequence addition or removal, re-alignment or manual edition) and then search databases for remote homologs using HMMER3.
HMM logos is one way of visualising profile HMMs. Logos provide a quick overview of the properties of an HMM in a graphical form. You can see a more detailed description of HMM logos and find out how you can interpret them here. More...
If you find these logos useful in your own work, please consider citing the following article:
This page displays the phylogenetic tree for this family's seed alignment. We use FastTree to calculate neighbour join trees with a local bootstrap based on 100 resamples (shown next to the tree nodes). FastTree calculates approximately-maximum-likelihood phylogenetic trees from our seed alignment.
Note: You can also download the data file for the tree.
Curation and family details
This section shows the detailed information about the Pfam family. You can see the definitions of many of the terms in this section in the glossary and a fuller explanation of the scoring system that we use in the scores section of the help pages.
|Number in seed:||50|
|Number in full:||667|
|Average length of the domain:||206.90 aa|
|Average identity of full alignment:||36 %|
|Average coverage of the sequence by the domain:||97.62 %|
|HMM build commands:||
build method: hmmbuild -o /dev/null HMM SEED
search method: hmmsearch -Z 23193494 -E 1000 --cpu 4 HMM pfamseq
|Family (HMM) version:||6|
|Download:||download the raw HMM for this family|
Weight segments by...
Change the size of the sunburst
selected sequences to HMM
a FASTA-format file
- 0 sequences
- 0 species
This visualisation provides a simple graphical representation of the distribution of this family across species. You can find the original interactive tree in the More....
This chart is a modified "sunburst" visualisation of the species tree for this family. It shows each node in the tree as a separate arc, arranged radially with the superkingdoms at the centre and the species arrayed around the outermost ring.
How the sunburst is generated
The tree is built by considering the taxonomic lineage of each sequence that has a match to this family. For each node in the resulting tree, we draw an arc in the sunburst. The radius of the arc, its distance from the root node at the centre of the sunburst, shows the taxonomic level ("superkingdom", "kingdom", etc). The length of the arc represents either the number of sequences represented at a given level, or the number of species that are found beneath the node in the tree. The weighting scheme can be changed using the sunburst controls.
In order to reduce the complexity of the representation, we reduce the number of taxonomic levels that we show. We consider only the following eight major taxonomic levels:
Colouring and labels
Segments of the tree are coloured approximately according to their superkingdom. For example, archeal branches are coloured with shades of orange, eukaryotes in shades of purple, etc. The colour assignments are shown under the sunburst controls. Where space allows, the name of the taxonomic level will be written on the arc itself.
As you move your mouse across the sunburst, the current node will be highlighted. In the top section of the controls panel we show a summary of the lineage of the currently highlighed node. If you pause over an arc, a tooltip will be shown, giving the name of the taxonomic level in the title and a summary of the number of sequences and species below that node in the tree.
Anomalies in the taxonomy tree
There are some situations that the sunburst tree cannot easily handle and for which we have work-arounds in place.
Missing taxonomic levels
Some species in the taxonomic tree may not have one or more of the main eight levels that we display. For example, Bos taurus is not assigned an order in the NCBI taxonomic tree. In such cases we mark the omitted level with, for example, "No order", in both the tooltip and the lineage summary.
Unmapped species names
The tree is built by looking at each sequence in the full alignment for the family. We take the name of the species given by UniProt and try to map that to the full taxonomic tree from NCBI. In some cases, the name chosen by UniProt does not map to any node in the NCBI tree, perhaps because the chosen name is listed as a synonym or a misspelling in the NCBI taxonomy.
So that these nodes are not simply omitted from the sunburst tree, we group them together in a separate branch (or segment of the sunburst tree). Since we cannot determine the lineage for these unmapped species, we show all levels between the superkingdom and the species as "uncategorised".
Since we reduce the species tree to only the eight main taxonomic levels, sequences that are mapped to the sub-species level in the tree would not normally be shown. Rather than leave out these species, we map them instead to their parent species. So, for example, for sequences belonging to one of the Vibrio cholerae sub-species in the NCBI taxonomy, we show them instead as belonging to the species Vibrio cholerae.
Too many species/sequences
For large species trees, you may see blank regions in the outer layers of the sunburst. These occur when there are large numbers of arcs to be drawn in a small space. If an arc is less than approximately one pixel wide, it will not be drawn and the space will be left blank. You may still be able to get some information about the species in that region by moving your mouse across the area, but since each arc will be very small, it will be difficult to accurately locate a particular species.
The tree shows the occurrence of this domain across different species. More...
We show the species tree in one of two ways. For smaller trees we try to show an interactive representation, which allows you to select specific nodes in the tree and view them as an alignment or as a set of Pfam domain graphics.
Unfortunately we have found that there are problems viewing the interactive tree when the it becomes larger than a certain limit. Furthermore, we have found that Internet Explorer can become unresponsive when viewing some trees, regardless of their size. We therefore show a text representation of the species tree when the size is above a certain limit or if you are using Internet Explorer to view the site.
If you are using IE you can still load the interactive tree by clicking the "Generate interactive tree" button, but please be aware of the potential problems that the interactive species tree can cause.
For all of the domain matches in a full alignment, we count the number that are found on all sequences in the alignment. This total is shown in the purple box.
We also count the number of unique sequences on which each domain is found, which is shown in green. Note that a domain may appear multiple times on the same sequence, leading to the difference between these two numbers.
Finally, we group sequences from the same organism according to the NCBI code that is assigned by UniProt, allowing us to count the number of distinct sequences on which the domain is found. This value is shown in the pink boxes.
We use the NCBI species tree to group organisms according to their taxonomy and this forms the structure of the displayed tree. Note that in some cases the trees are too large (have too many nodes) to allow us to build an interactive tree, but in most cases you can still view the tree in a plain text, non-interactive representation. Those species which are represented in the seed alignment for this domain are highlighted.
You can use the tree controls to manipulate how the interactive tree is displayed:
- show/hide the summary boxes
- highlight species that are represented in the seed alignment
- expand/collapse the tree or expand it to a given depth
- select a sub-tree or a set of species within the tree and view them graphically or as an alignment
- save a plain text representation of the tree
Please note: for large trees this can take some time. While the tree is loading, you can safely switch away from this tab but if you browse away from the family page entirely, the tree will not be loaded.
For those sequences which have a structure in the Protein DataBank, we use the mapping between UniProt, PDB and Pfam coordinate systems from the PDBe group, to allow us to map Pfam domains onto UniProt sequences and three-dimensional protein structures. The table below shows the structures on which the CRISPR_assoc domain has been found. There are 14 instances of this domain found in the PDB. Note that there may be multiple copies of the domain in a single PDB structure, since many structures contain multiple copies of the same protein seqence.
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