Systems Biology of Bacterial Immune Systems: Regulation of Restriction-Modification and CRISPR-Cas Systems
Restriction-modification (R-M) and CRISPR-Cas are bacterial immune systems which defend their prokaryotic hosts from invasive DNA. Understanding how these systems are regulated is necessary for both biotechnology applications, and for understanding how they modulate horizontal gene transfer (including acquisition of virulence factors). We here review results on modeling these systems which point to common general principles underlying their architecture and dynamical response, with particular emphasis on modeling methods. We show that the modeling predictions are in a good agreement with both in vitro measurements of promoter transcription activity and the first in vivo measurements of gene expression dynamics in R-M systems. Modeling induction of CRISPR-Cas systems is challenging, as signaling which leads to their activation is currently unknown. However, based on similarities between transcription regulation in CRISPR-Cas and some R-M systems, we argue that transcription regulation of much simpler (and better studied) R-M systems can be used as a proxy for CRISPR-Cas transcription regulation, allowing to in silico assess CRISPR-Cas dynamical properties. Based on the obtained results, we propose that mechanistically otherwise different bacterial immune systems, presumably due to a common function, share the same unifying principles governing their expression dynamics.
KeywordsThermodynamic modeling Restriction-modification systems CRISPR-Cas Gene expression regulation Regulatory dynamics
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