Structure of the CRISPR Interference complex CSM reveals key similarities with Cascade

Christophe Rouillon, Min Zhou, Jing Zhang, Politis Argyris, Victoria Beilsten-Edmands, Guiseppe Cannone, Shirley Graham, Carol Robinson, Laura Spagnolo, Malcolm F White

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135 Citations (Scopus)
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The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) system is an adaptive immune system in prokaryotes. Interference complexes encoded by CRISPR-associated (cas) genes utilize small RNAs for homology-directed detection and subsequent degradation of invading genetic elements, and they have been classified into three main types (I–III). Type III complexes share the Cas10 subunit but are subclassifed as type IIIA (CSM) and type IIIB (CMR), depending on their specificity for DNA or RNA targets, respectively. The role of CSM in limiting the spread of conjugative plasmids in Staphylococcus epidermidis was first described in 2008. Here, we report a detailed investigation of the composition and structure of the CSM complex from the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus, using a combination of electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and deep sequencing. This reveals a three-dimensional model for the CSM complex that includes a helical component strikingly reminiscent of the backbone structure of the type I (Cascade) family.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-134
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number1
Early online date10 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2013


  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) system
  • Immune system
  • Prokaryotes
  • CSM complex
  • Sulfolobus solfataricus
  • Cascade complex
  • Methylation
  • Acetylation
  • Phosphorylation


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