Editors' ChoiceMicrobiology

Crowd-sourced CRISPR-Cas responses

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Science  16 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6318, pp. 1388-1389
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6318.1388-d

Bacterial populations can coordinate their responses to environmental change by quorum sensing. Bacteria also possess protective combinations of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and associated proteins (CRISPR-Cas) to defend themselves against viral predation and attack by mobile elements. Patterson et al. have discovered that Serratia species do not rely on one CRISPR-Cas setup but rather have two backups to modulate responses to foreign nucleic acid sequences. Moreover, these CRISPR-Cas combinations are triggered by quorum sensing, which kicks in when a bacterial population reaches a density high enough that it becomes apparent and vulnerable to predators, competitors, and other threats.

Molec. Cell 64, 1 (2016).

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