The distribution of CRISPR-Cas systems is affected by interactions with DNA repair pathways

Abstract : CRISPR-Cas systems confer bacteria and archea an adaptative immunity against phages and other invading genetic elements playing an important role in bacterial evolution. Only 47% of bacterial genomes harbor a CRISPR-Cas system despite their high rate of horizontal transfer. Hypothesis such as the cost of autoimmu- nity or the trade off between a constitutive or an inducible defense system have been put forward to explain this paradox. I propose that the genetic background plays an important role in the process of maintaining a CRISPR-Cas system af- ter its transfer. More precisely I hypothesized that CRISPR-Cas systems interact with DNA repair pathways. To test this idea, we detected DNA repair pathways and CRISPR-Cas systems in bacterial genomes and studied their co-occurences. We report both positive and negative associations that we interpret as poten- tial antagonistic or synergistic interactions. We then focused on one interaction to validate our result experimentally and explored molecular mechanisms behind those interactions. My findings give insights on the complex interactions between CRISPR-Cas systems and DNA repair mechanisms in bacteria and provide a first example on the necessity of accommodation of CRISPR-Cas systems to a specific genetic context to be selected and maintained in bacterial genomes.
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Aude Bernheim. The distribution of CRISPR-Cas systems is affected by interactions with DNA repair pathways. Genetics. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCB070⟩. ⟨tel-02131403⟩

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