Discovery of CRISPR-Cas systems is one of paramount importance in the field of microbiology. Currently, how CRISPR-Cas systems are finely regulated remains to be defined. Here we use small regulatory RNA (sRNA) library to screen sRNAs targeting type I-F CRISPR-Cas system through proximity ligation by T4 RNA ligase and find 34 sRNAs linking to CRISPR loci. Among 34 sRNAs for potential regulators of CRISPR, sRNA pant463 and PhrS enhance CRISPR loci transcription, while pant391 represses their transcription. We identify PhrS as a regulator of CRISPR-Cas by binding CRISPR leaders to suppress Rho-dependent transcription termination. PhrS-mediated anti-termination facilitates CRISPR locus transcription to generate CRISPR RNA (crRNA) and subsequently promotes CRISPR-Cas adaptive immunity against bacteriophage invasion. Furthermore, this also exists in type I-C/-E CRISPR-Cas, suggesting general regulatory mechanisms in bacteria kingdom. Our findings identify sRNAs as important regulators of CRISPR-Cas, extending roles of sRNAs in controlling bacterial physiology by promoting CRISPR-Cas adaptation priming.
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Lin, Ping; Wu, Qinqin; Zhou, Chuanmin; Wang, Biao; Schettler, Jacob; Wang, Zhihan; Qin, Shugang; Gao, Pan; Li, Rongpeng; Li, Guoping; Cheng, Zhenyu; Lan, Lefu; Jiang, Jianxin; and Wu, Min, "High-Throughput Screen Reveals sRNAs Regulating crRNA Biogenesis by Targeting CRISPR Leader to Repress Rho Termination" (2019). Biomedical Sciences Faculty Publications. 5.