RNA-Mediated Adaptive Immunity (CRISPR-Cas)

To protect themselves from the attack by invading alien genomes (in particular phages and plasmids), bacteria and archaea have evolved an RNA-guided adaptive immune system, called CRISPR-Cas (clustered, regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats–CRISPR-associated proteins). The system uses ribonucleoprotein complexes composed of short CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs) and Cas protein(s) to silence invading nucleic acid sequences in a sequence-specific manner. We are interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms involved in the adaptation, expression and interference phases of the bacterial immune system. We are also focusing on the molecular details of the recently discovered tracrRNA:crRNA-Cas9 genome editing mechanism/technology as well as of recently identified CRISPR-Cas systems.