Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title

Nucleic Acids Research

Publication Date

8-11-2018

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Volume

46

Issue

19

First Page

10395

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Last Page

10404

Abstract

Prokaryotes use primed CRISPR adaptation to update their memory bank of spacers against invading genetic elements that have escaped CRISPR interference through mutations in their protospacer target site. We previously observed a trend that nucleotide-dependent mismatches between crRNA and the protospacer strongly influence the efficiency of primed CRISPR adaptation. Here we show that guanine-substitutions in the target strand of the protospacer are highly detrimental to CRISPR interference and interference-dependent priming, while cytosine-substitutions are more readily tolerated. Furthermore, we show that this effect is based on strongly decreased binding affinity of the effector complex Cascade for guanine-mismatched targets, while cytosine-mismatched targets only minimally affect target DNA binding. Structural modeling of Cascade-bound targets with mismatches shows that steric clashes of mismatched guanines lead to unfavorable conformations of the RNA-DNA duplex. This effect has strong implications for the natural selection of target site mutations that lead to effective escape from type I CRISPR–Cas systems.

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