Haloferax volcanii is, to our knowledge, the only prokaryote known to tolerate CRISPR-Cas-mediated damage to its genome in the WT background; the resulting cleavage of the genome is repaired by homologous recombination restoring the WT version. In mutant Haloferax strains with enhanced self-targeting, cell fitness decreases and microhomology-mediated end joining becomes active, generating deletions in the targeted gene. Here we use self-targeting to investigate adaptation in H. volcanii CRISPR-Cas type I-B. We show that self-targeting and genome breakage events that are induced by self-targeting, such as those catalyzed by active transposases, can generate DNA fragments that are used by the CRISPR-Cas adaptation machinery for integration into the CRISPR loci. Low cellular concentrations of self-targeting crRNAs resulted in acquisition of large numbers of spacers originating from the entire genomic DNA. In contrast, high concentrations of self-targeting crRNAs resulted in lower acquisition that was mostly centered on the targeting site. Furthermore, we observed naïve spacer acquisition at a low level in WT Haloferax cells and with higher efficiency upon overexpression of the Cas proteins Cas1, Cas2, and Cas4. Taken together, these findings indicate that naïve adaptation is a regulated process in H. volcanii that operates at low basal levels and is induced by DNA breaks.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||The Journal of biological chemistry|
|State||Published - 25 Sep 2020|
- Haloferax volcanii
- homologous recombination
- naive adaptation
- type I-B