CRISPR: evolution, mechanisms and infection

Meeting background

The extreme evolutionary pressure exerted on cells by viruses, and vice versa, is a key driving force in evolution. Perhaps the most exciting development in this area in the past 10 years is the discovery of the CRISPR system for antiviral defence. These clusters of regularly interspaced palindromic repeats are genomically encoded by many prokaryotes and carry a record of past viral infections. Transcription and processing of the CRISPR RNA leads to RNA-directed cleavage of the nucleic acid of invading mobile elements, mediated by large, complex molecular machines assembled from CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins. The process of viral DNA capture and incorporation into CRISPR loci is still enigmatic and is an interesting example of pure Lamarckian evolution. The dynamic interplay between viruses and hosts also has clear parallels to the predator:prey relationships studied more widely in biology. CRISPRs are the most rapidly evolving parts of most prokaryotic genomes, providing opportunities for the study of evolution in the field in real time.


crRNA biogenesis and processing
Structure and Mechanism of Cas protein complexes
Viral DNA capture
Virus:host interactions, evolution and ecology
Applications of CRISPR technology

+ show speakers and program
S. equi and S. zooepidemicus evolution: the role of CRISPRs
Andrew Waller (Animal Health Trust, United Kingdom)
Blake Wiedenheft (Montana State University, U.S.A.)
RNA-mediated genome protection and re-programming
Jennifer Doudna (University of California, U.S.A.)
Cas protein complexes in Sulfolobus solfartaricus
Jing Zhang (St Andrews University, United Kingdom)
Kira Makarova (NIH NLM NCBI, U.S.A.)
Konstantin Severinov (Rutgers University, U.S.A.)
Laura Spagnolo (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
Mark Young (Montana State University, U.S.A.)
Michael Terns (University of Georgia, U.S.A.)
CRISPR defined coevolutionary dynamics in microbial population
Rachel Whitaker (University of Illinois, U.S.A.)
Evolution and mechanism of action of CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems
Rodolphe Barrangou (Danisco USA Inc, U.S.A.)
CRISPR adaptation and interference in E. coli
Stan Brouns (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)
Udi Qimron (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
Virginijus Siksnys (Vilnius University, Lithuania)

17 Jun - 19 Jun 2013
St Andrews
United Kingdom
meeting website