Agnieszka Czechowicz, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Genome manipulation by guide-directed Argonaute cleavage
NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH
Many prokaryotic argonautes (pAgos) mediate DNA interference by using small DNA guides to cleave target DNA. A recent study shows that CbAgo, a pAgo from Clostridium butyricum, induces DNA interference between homologous sequences and generates double-stranded breaks (DSBs) in target DNAs. This mechanism enables the host to defend against invading DNAs such as plasmids and viruses. However, whether such a CbAgo-mediated DNA cleavage is mutagenic remains unexplored. Here we demonstrate that CbAgo, directed by plasmid-encoded guide sequences, can cleave genome target sites and induce chromosome recombination between downstream homologous sequences in Escherichia coli. The recombination rate correlates well with pAgo DNA cleavage activity and the mechanistic study suggests the recombination involves DSBs and RecBCD processing. In RecA-deficient E. coli strain, guide-directed CbAgo cleavage on chromosomes severely impairs cell growth, which can be utilized as counter-selection to assist Lambda-Red recombineering. These findings demonstrate the guide-directed cleavage of pAgo on the host genome is mutagenic and can lead to different outcomes according to the function of the host DNA repair machinery. We anticipate this novel DNA-guided interference to be useful in broader genetic manipulation. Our study also provides an in vivo assay to characterize or engineer pAgo DNA cleavage activity.
View details for DOI 10.1093/nar/gkad188
View details for Web of Science ID 000949298300001
View details for PubMedID 36928676