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Supplements Description from Genome-wide correlation analysis suggests different roles of CRISPR-Cas systems in the acquisition of antibiotic resistance genes in diverse species

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posted on 14.02.2019 by Saadlee Shehreen, Te-yuan Chyou, Peter C. Fineran, Chris M. Brown
CRISPR-Cas systems are widespread in bacterial and archaeal genomes and in their canonical role in phage defence, they confer a fitness advantage. However, CRISPR-Cas may also hinder the uptake of potentially beneficial genes. This is particularly true under antibiotic selection, where preventing the uptake of antibiotic resistance genes could be detrimental. A newly discovered feature within these evolutionary dynamics is anti-CRISPR genes, which inhibit specific CRISPR-Cas systems. We hypothesized that selection for antibiotic resistance might have resulted in an accumulation of anti-CRISPR genes in genomes that harbour CRISPR-Cas systems and horizontally acquired antibiotic resistance genes. To assess that question, we analysed correlations between the CRISPR-Cas, anti-CRISPR and antibiotic resistance gene content of 104 947 reference genomes, including 5677 different species. In most species, the presence of CRISPR-Cas systems did not correlate with the presence of antibiotic resistance genes. However, in some clinically important species, we observed either a positive or negative correlation of CRISPR-Cas with antibiotic resistance genes. Anti-CRISPR genes were common enough in four species to be analysed. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the presence of anti-CRISPRs was associated with antibiotic resistance genes. This analysis indicates that the role of CRISPR-Cas and anti-CRISPRs in the spread of antibiotic resistance, is likely to be very different in particular pathogenic species and clinical environments.This article is part of the theme issue ‘The ecology and evolution of prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems’.

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