In many bacteria and archaea, an adaptive immune system (CRISPR-Cas) provides immunity against foreign genetic elements. This system uses CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs) derived from the CRISPR array, along with CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins, to target foreign nucleic acids. In most CRISPR systems, endonucleolytic processing of crRNA precursors (pre-crRNAs) is essential for the pathway. Here we study the Cas6 endonuclease responsible for crRNA processing in the Type III-A CRISPR-Cas system from Staphylococcus epidermidis RP62a, a model for Type III-A CRISPR-Cas systems, and define substrate requirements for SeCas6 activity. We find that SeCas6 is necessary and sufficient for full-length crRNA biogenesis in vitro, and that it relies on both sequence and stem-loop structure in the 3′ half of the CRISPR repeat for recognition and processing.
Wakefield, N., Rajan, R., & Sontheimer, E. J. (2015). Primary processing of CRISPR RNA by the endonuclease Cas6 in Staphylococcus epidermidis. FEBS Letters, 589(20), 3197–3204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2015.09.005