Encyclopedia of Metagenomics

2015 Edition
| Editors: Sarah K. Highlander, Francisco Rodriguez-Valera, Bryan A. White

CRISPRs in the Human Microbiome

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-7475-4_786


CRISPR: Clusters of Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

CRISPR–Cas systems are adaptive, RNA-guided, heritable defense systems that prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) use to protect themselves against invading nucleic acids including viruses.


The CRISPR–Cas adaptive immune system is an important defense system in bacteria, providing targeted defense against invasions of foreign nucleic acids, including phage and conjugative plasmids (Barrangou et al. 2007; Horvath and Barrangou 2010). CRISPR–Cas systems are found in most archaeal and about half of the bacterial genomes. CRISPR–Cas systems consist of CRISPR arrays and cas (CRISPR-associated) genes: sequence segments of invaders are incorporated into CRISPR arrays in host genomes (the adaptation process) to generate specificity, while cas genes encode proteins that mediate the defense process.

CRISPR arrays consist of short direct repeats (CRISPRs), separated by unique spacer sequences acquired from...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Informatics and ComputingIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA