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Conservation and Variability in the Structure and Function of the Cas5d Endoribonuclease in the CRISPR-Mediated Microbial Immune System

Koo, Yoon, Ka, Donghyun, Kim, Eun-Jin, Suh, Nayoung, Bae, Euiyoung
Journal of Molecular Biology 2013 v.425 pp. 3799-3810
DNA, RNA, Streptococcus pyogenes, Xanthomonas oryzae, binding capacity, crystal structure, endoribonucleases, proteins
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins form an RNA-mediated microbial immune system against invading foreign genetic elements. Cas5 proteins constitute one of the most prevalent Cas protein families in CRISPR–Cas systems and are predicted to have RNA recognition motif (RRM) domains. Cas5d is a subtype I-C-specific Cas5 protein that can be divided into two distinct subgroups, one of which has extra C-terminal residues while the other contains a longer insertion in the middle of its N-terminal RRM domain. Here, we report crystal structures of Cas5d from Streptococcus pyogenes and Xanthomonas oryzae, which respectively represent the two Cas5d subgroups. Despite a common domain architecture consisting of an N-terminal RRM domain and a C-terminal β-sheet domain, the structural differences between the two Cas5d proteins are highlighted by the presence of a unique extended helical region protruding from the N-terminal RRM domain of X. oryzae Cas5d. We also demonstrate that Cas5d proteins possess not only specific endoribonuclease activity for CRISPR RNAs but also nonspecific double-stranded DNA binding affinity. These findings suggest that Cas5d may play multiple roles in CRISPR-mediated immunity. Furthermore, the specific RNA processing was also observed between S. pyogenes Cas5d protein and X. oryzae CRISPR RNA and vice versa. This cross-species activity of Cas5d provides a special opportunity for elucidating conserved features of the CRISPR RNA processing event.