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Online Publication Nature Microbiology reports a new scientific breakthrough by PhD Francis Mojica

His findings show the existence of an "anti-Cas" mechanism, which allows bacteria to remove the CRISPR-Cas immunity system so that this is not an obstacle to their survival

On Monday, the online edition of the American journal published an article from University of University of Alicante researcher, Cristóbal Almendros, Noemí M. Guzmán and Jesús García-Martínez

Martinez_MojicaAlicante. Monday 6 June 2016

University of Alicante researcher Francis Mojica, well-known for the discovery of CRISPR-Cas, is again in the limelight with a new scientific breakthrough related to this discovery.  CRISPR-Cas is an acquired ancestral immune system similar to that in human beings and able to remember suffered invasions and develop a specific response to infectious elements, causing its destruction. 

On Monday, 6 June, American journal Microbiology Nature published in its online edition an article by this University of Alicante researcher which proves that bacteria may have a detrimental immune system at least in certain circumstances.

Mojica’s research team has proven that intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli has a mechanism focussed on preventing CRISPR-Cas-mediated immunity, that is, an anti-Cas mechanism.

The article included by Nature Microbiology explains the reasons why the ability of bacteria to override the immune system, far from being harmful, can be very beneficial, at least in some cases. 

"The explanation is that bacteria can acquire genetic material from viruses that increases their chances of survival in the body they infect. In an attempt of CRISPR-Cas systems to defend bacteria from viruses, they may become an obstacle to the transfer of favorable factors for bacterial evolution and survival. Therefore, the anti-Cas mechanism can be understood as a strategy to increase bacterial pathogenicity itself." 

The discovery and characterisation of CRISPR-Cas acquired immunity system during the last decade has allowed the development of molecular biology tools, generically referred to as CRISPR Technology , which has been a real revolution in biology and biomedicine. "The study of these systems in their natural hosts, bacteria, keeps surprising and provides new ways to control populations of microorganisms and fight against disease," as stated by main researcher and lecturer at the Department Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology, Francisco JM Mojica. 

The article is signed by University of Alicante researcher Francis Mojica and his research team, Cristóbal Almendros, Noemí M. Guzmán, Jesús García-Martínez.. Anti-cas spacers in orphan Anti-cas spacers in orphan CRISPR4 arrays prevent uptake of active CRISPR–Cas I-F systems. Nature Microbiology. DOI: 10.1038 / nmicrobiol.2016.81. 


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