Many prokaryotes employ CRISPR-Cas systems to combat invading mobile genetic elements (MGEs). In response, some MGEs have developed strategies to bypass immunity, including anti-CRISPR (Acr) proteins; yet the diversity, distribution and spectrum of activity of this immune evasion strategy remain largely unknown. Here, we report the discovery of new Acrs by assaying candidate genes adjacent to a conserved Acr-associated (Aca) gene, aca5, against a panel of six type I systems: I-F (Pseudomonas, Pectobacterium, and Serratia), I-E (Pseudomonas and Serratia), and I-C (Pseudomonas). We uncover 11 type I-F and/or I-E anti-CRISPR genes encoded on chromosomal and extrachromosomal MGEs within Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas, and an additional Aca (aca9). The acr genes not only associate with other acr genes, but also with genes encoding inhibitors of distinct bacterial defense systems. Thus, our findings highlight the potential exploitation of acr loci neighborhoods for the identification of previously undescribed anti-defense systems.
- Bacterial Proteins/genetics
- CRISPR-Cas Systems
- Interspersed Repetitive Sequences
- Multigene Family