CRISPR-Cas immunity: beyond nonself and defence
- 71 Downloads
In this commentary of Koonin’s target paper, we defend an extended view of CRISPR-Cas immunity by arguing that CRISPR-Cas includes, but cannot be reduced to, defence against nonself. CRISPR-Cas systems can target endogenous elements (for example in DNA repair) and tolerate exogenous elements (for example some phages). We conclude that the vocabulary of “defence” and “nonself” might be misleading when describing CRISPR-Cas systems.
KeywordsCRISPR-Cas Immune system Self Nonself Phage Virus Defence Repair Autoimmunity Tolerance Bacteria Archaea Microbiota
We would like to thank Michael Weisberg for the opportunity to write about the philosophical and immunological dimensions of the CRISPR-Cas system, and Eugene Koonin for his extremely innovative and stimulating ideas.
TP has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme—Grant Agreement no. 637647—IDEM.
- Burnet FM (1960) Immunological recognition of self. In: Nobel Lectures in Physiology or Medicine, vol 3, pp 689–701Google Scholar
- Makarova KS, Grishin NV, Shabalina SA et al (2006) A putative RNA-interference-based immune system in prokaryotes: computational analysis of the predicted enzymatic machinery, functional analogies with eukaryotic RNAi, and hypothetical mechanisms of action. Biol Direct 1:7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1745-6150-1-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Matzinger P (1994) Tolerance, danger, and the extended family. Annu Rev Immunol 12:991–1045. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.iy.12.040194.005015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pourcel C, Salvignol G, Vergnaud G (2005) CRISPR elements in Yersinia pestis acquire new repeats by preferential uptake of bacteriophage DNA, and provide additional tools for evolutionary studies. Microbiology (Reading, England) 151:653–663. https://doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.27437-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar