Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), together with associated sequences (cas) constitute the CRISPR-Cas system, which provides adaptive immunity against invasive elements in many bacteria and most archaea. In prokaryotes, CRISPR-Cas systems afford DNA-encoded, RNA mediated, nucleic acid targeting, using a diverse set of Cas nucleases that yield various cleavage outcomes, and carry out several biological functions. Recently, the CRISPR machinery has been repurposed to fuel the Cas9-enabled genome editing craze with un-precedented portability and flexibility. Besides Cas9, diverse bacterial Cas effectors, especially widespread Cascade-Cas3, and also novel systems on the rise such as Cas12 and CasTn, can be repurposed in bacteria and in vitro for efficient genome editing of bacterial isolates and synthetic phages to shape microbiome and virome composition and enhance functional attributes of interest. I will illustrate how various CRISPR-based molecular machines can be readily repurposed in a diversity of microbial applications, including strain genotyping, enhancing phage resistance, providing immunization against invasive nucleic acids and serving as programmable antimicrobials. Given the variable occurrence of diverse CRISPR-Cas systems across the bacterial tree of life, I will cover both portable modalities and the exploitation of endogenous Cas effectors. These transformative technologies open new avenues to formulate and manipulate microbiomes and viromes of interest for food, agriculture, biotechnology and medical applications.
Rodolphe Barrangou is a microbiologist recognized for his work on food bacteria and their roles and uses as starter cultures and probiotics. He is known particularly for establishing CRISPR as the bacterial adaptive immune system which provides resistance against bacteriophages, the characterization of the CRISPR-Cas system mechanism of action, and their use in various food applications. Barrangou was born in France, grew up in Paris, and emigrated to the US in 1998 to pursue a MS and then a PhD at NC State University. He worked in the industry for nearly a decade before returning to academia, and has also been involved in several start-up companies commercializing various applications and products based on CRISPR technologies. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
For details of his research and recent publication, please visit: HERE
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