Publication details

CRISPR-Associated Primase-Polymerases are implicated in prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas adaptation


ZABRADY Katerina ZABRADY Matej KOLESÁR Peter LI Arthur W. H. DOHERTY Aidan J.

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Nature Communications
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords CRISPR-Cas systems; DNA; DNA repair enzymes; Enzyme mechanisms
Description CRISPR-Cas pathways provide prokaryotes with acquired "immunity" against foreign genetic elements, including phages and plasmids. Although many of the proteins associated with CRISPR-Cas mechanisms are characterized, some requisite enzymes remain elusive. Genetic studies have implicated host DNA polymerases in some CRISPR-Cas systems but CRISPR-specific replicases have not yet been discovered. We have identified and characterised a family of CRISPR-Associated Primase-Polymerases (CAPPs) in a range of prokaryotes that are operonically associated with Cas1 and Cas2. CAPPs belong to the Primase-Polymerase (Prim-Pol) superfamily of replicases that operate in various DNA repair and replication pathways that maintain genome stability. Here, we characterise the DNA synthesis activities of bacterial CAPP homologues from Type IIIA and IIIB CRISPR-Cas systems and establish that they possess a range of replicase activities including DNA priming, polymerisation and strand-displacement. We demonstrate that CAPPs operonically-associated partners, Cas1 and Cas2, form a complex that possesses spacer integration activity. We show that CAPPs physically associate with the Cas proteins to form bespoke CRISPR-Cas complexes. Finally, we propose how CAPPs activities, in conjunction with their partners, may function to undertake key roles in CRISPR-Cas adaptation. CAPPs are putative Primase-Polymerases associated with CRISPR-Cas operons. Here, the authors show CAPPs genetic and physical association with Cas1 and Cas2, their capacity to function as DNA-dependent DNA primases and DNA polymerases, and that Cas1-Cas2 complex adjacent to CAPP has bona fide spacer integration activity.

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