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Induction and elimination of prophages using CRISPR interference

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Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
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Prophages are widely spread among bacterial genomes, and they can have positive or negative effects on their hosts. A key aspect in the study of prophages is the discovery of their induction signals. Prophage induction can occur by inactivating a phage transcriptional repressor, which is responsible for maintaining the lysogenic state. This repressor can be inactivated through the bacterial SOS response. However, the induction signals for numerous prophages do not involve the SOS system, and therefore significant efforts are needed to identify these conditions. Similarly, curing bacterial strains of inducible prophages is a tedious process, requiring the screening of several colonies. Here, we investigated whether transcriptional silencing of a prophage repressor using CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) would lead to prophage induction. Using Escherichia coli phages λ and P2 as models, we demonstrated the efficiency of CRISPRi for prophage induction and for curing lysogenic strains of their prophages.

CRISPR Journal, Vol. 4 (4), 549-557 (2021)
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article de recherche