Zheng Li, Zhenhui Zhong, Zhongshou Wu, Patrick Pausch, Basem Al-Shayeb, Jasmine Amerasekera, Jennifer A. Doudna, Steven E. Jacobsen
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and CRISPR-associated proteins (CRISPR-Cas) systems have been developed as important tools for plant genome engineering. Here, we demonstrate that the hypercompact CasΦ nuclease is able to generate stably inherited gene edits in Arabidopsis, and that CasΦ guide RNAs can be expressed with either the Pol-III U6 promoter or a Pol-II promoter together with ribozyme mediated RNA processing. Using the Arabidopsis fwa epiallele, we show that CasΦ displays higher editing efficiency when the target locus is not DNA methylated, suggesting that CasΦ is sensitive to chromatin environment. Importantly, two CasΦ protein variants, vCasΦ and nCasΦ, both showed much higher editing efficiency relative to the wild-type CasΦ enzyme. Consistently, vCasΦ and nCasΦ yielded offspring plants with inherited edits at much higher rates compared to WTCasΦ. Extensive genomic analysis of gene edited plants showed no off-target editing, suggesting that CasΦ is highly specific. The hypercompact size, T-rich minimal protospacer adjacent motif (PAM), and wide range of working temperatures make CasΦ an excellent supplement to existing plant genome editing systems.
Basem Al-Shayeb, Petr Skopintsev, Katarzyna M. Soczek, Elizabeth C. Stahl, Zheng Li, Evan Groover, Dylan Smock, Amy R. Eggers, Patrick Pausch, Brady F. Cress, Carolyn J. Huang, Brian Staskawicz, David F. Savage, Steven E. Jacobsen, Jillian F. Banfield, Jennifer A. Doudna
CRISPR-Cas systems are host-encoded pathways that protect microbes from viral infection using an adaptive RNA-guided mechanism. Using genome-resolved metagenomics, we find that CRISPR systems are also encoded in diverse bacteriophages, where they occur as divergent and hypercompact anti-viral systems. Bacteriophage-encoded CRISPR systems belong to all six known CRISPR-Cas types, though some lack crucial components, suggesting alternate functional roles or host complementation. We describe multiple new Cas9-like proteins and 44 families related to type V CRISPR-Cas systems, including the Casλ RNA-guided nuclease family. Among the most divergent of the new enzymes identified, Casλ recognizes double-stranded DNA using a uniquely structured CRISPR RNA (crRNA). The Casλ-RNA-DNA structure determined by cryoelectron microscopy reveals a compact bilobed architecture capable of inducing genome editing in mammalian, Arabidopsis, and hexaploid wheat cells. These findings reveal a new source of CRISPR-Cas enzymes in phages and highlight their value as genome editors in plant and human cells.
Joy Y Wang, Patrick Pausch, Jennifer A Doudna.
Nature Reviews Microbiology
CRISPR–Cas systems provide resistance against foreign mobile genetic elements and have a wide range of genome editing and biotechnological applications. In this Review, we examine recent advances in understanding the molecular structures and mechanisms of enzymes comprising bacterial RNA-guided CRISPR–Cas immune systems and deployed for wide-ranging genome editing applications. We explore the adaptive and interference aspects of CRISPR–Cas function as well as open questions about the molecular mechanisms responsible for genome targeting. These structural insights reflect close evolutionary links between CRISPR–Cas systems and mobile genetic elements, including the origins and evolution of CRISPR–Cas systems from DNA transposons, retrotransposons and toxin–antitoxin modules. We discuss how the evolution and structural diversity of CRISPR–Cas systems explain their functional complexity and utility as genome editing tools.
Patrick Pausch, Katarzyna M Soczek, Dominik A Herbst, Connor A Tsuchida, Basem Al-Shayeb, Jillian F Banfield, Eva Nogales, Jennifer A Doudna.
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology
CRISPR–CasΦ, a small RNA-guided enzyme found uniquely in bacteriophages, achieves programmable DNA cutting as well as genome editing. To investigate how the hypercompact enzyme recognizes and cleaves double-stranded DNA, we determined cryo-EM structures of CasΦ (Cas12j) in pre- and post-DNA-binding states. The structures reveal a streamlined protein architecture that tightly encircles the CRISPR RNA and DNA target to capture, unwind and cleave DNA. Comparison of the pre- and post-DNA-binding states reveals how the protein rearranges for DNA cleavage upon target recognition. On the basis of these structures, we created and tested mutant forms of CasΦ that cut DNA up to 20-fold faster relative to wild type, showing how this system may be naturally attenuated to improve the fidelity of DNA interference. The structural and mechanistic insights into how CasΦ binds and cleaves DNA should allow for protein engineering for both in vitro diagnostics and genome editing.
Felix Kaspar, Margarita Seeger, Sarah Westarp, Christoph Köllmann, Anna P Lehmann, Patrick Pausch, Sebastian Kemper, Peter Neubauer, Gert Bange, Anett Schallmey, Daniel Werz, Anke Kurreck.
The growing demand for 4′-modified nucleoside analogs in medicinal and biological chemistry is contrasted by the challenging synthetic access to these molecules and the lack of efficient diversification strategies. Herein, we report the development of a biocatalytic diversification approach based on nucleoside phosphorylases, which allows the straightforward installation of a variety of pyrimidine and purine nucleobases on a 4′-alkylated sugar scaffold. Following the identification of a suitable biocatalyst as well as its characterization with kinetic experiments and docking studies, we systematically explored the equilibrium thermodynamics of this reaction system to enable rational yield prediction in transglycosylation reactions via principles of thermodynamic control. Collectively, this work provides analytical methods and thermodynamic frameworks that outline a general roadmap for the characterization of nucleoside phosphorolysis and transglycosylation systems.
STRUCTURAL BASIS FOR REGULATION OF THE OPPOSING (P) PPGPP SYNTHETASE AND HYDROLASE WITHIN THE STRINGENT RESPONSE ORCHESTRATOR REL
Patrick Pausch, Maha Abdelshahid, Wieland Steinchen, Heinrich Schäfer, Fabio Lino Gratani, Sven-Andreas Freibert, Christiane Wolz, Kürşad Turgay, Daniel N Wilson, Gert Bange.
The stringent response enables metabolic adaptation of bacteria under stress conditions and is governed by RelA/SpoT Homolog (RSH)-type enzymes. Long RSH-type enzymes encompass an N-terminal domain (NTD) harboring the second messenger nucleotide (p)ppGpp hydrolase and synthetase activity and a stress-perceiving and regulatory C-terminal domain (CTD). CTD-mediated binding of Rel to stalled ribosomes boosts (p)ppGpp synthesis. However, how the opposing activities of the NTD are controlled in the absence of stress was poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate on the RSH-type protein Rel that the critical regulative elements reside within the TGS (ThrRS, GTPase, and SpoT) subdomain of the CTD, which associates to and represses the synthetase to concomitantly allow for activation of the hydrolase. Furthermore, we show that Rel forms homodimers, which appear to control the interaction with deacylated-tRNA, but not the enzymatic activity of Rel. Collectively, our study provides a detailed molecular view into the mechanism of stringent response repression in the absence of stress.
Patrick Pausch, Basem Al-Shayeb, Ezra Bisom-Rapp, Connor A Tsuchida, Zheng Li, Brady F Cress, Gavin J Knott, Steven E Jacobsen, Jillian F Banfield, Jennifer A Doudna.
CRISPR-Cas systems are found widely in prokaryotes, where they provide adaptive immunity against virus infection and plasmid transformation. We describe a minimal functional CRISPR-Cas system, comprising a single ~70-kilodalton protein, CasΦ, and a CRISPR array, encoded exclusively in the genomes of huge bacteriophages. CasΦ uses a single active site for both CRISPR RNA (crRNA) processing and crRNA-guided DNA cutting to target foreign nucleic acids. This hypercompact system is active in vitro and in human and plant cells with expanded target recognition capabilities relative to other CRISPR-Cas proteins. Useful for genome editing and DNA detection but with a molecular weight half that of Cas9 and Cas12a genome-editing enzymes, CasΦ offers advantages for cellular delivery that expand the genome editing toolbox.