Daan C Swarts

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BACKGROUND CRISPR/Cas is a widespread adaptive immune system in prokaryotes. This system integrates short stretches of DNA derived from invading nucleic acids into genomic CRISPR loci, which function as memory of previously encountered invaders. In Escherichia coli, transcripts of these loci are cleaved into small RNAs and utilized by the Cascade complex to(More)
RNA interference is widely distributed in eukaryotes and has a variety of functions, including antiviral defence and gene regulation. All RNA interference pathways use small single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) molecules that guide proteins of the Argonaute (Ago) family to complementary ssRNA targets: RNA-guided RNA interference. The role of prokaryotic Ago variants(More)
All organisms need to continuously adapt to changes in their environment. Through horizontal gene transfer, bacteria and archaea can rapidly acquire new traits that may contribute to their survival. However, because new DNA may also cause damage, removal of imported DNA and protection against selfish invading DNA elements are also important. Hence, there(More)
We report on crystal structures of ternary Thermus thermophilus Argonaute (TtAgo) complexes with 5'-phosphorylated guide DNA and a series of DNA targets. These ternary complex structures of cleavage-incompatible, cleavage-compatible, and postcleavage states solved at improved resolution up to 2.2 Å have provided molecular insights into the orchestrated(More)
Argonaute proteins are conserved throughout all domains of life. Recently characterized prokaryotic Argonaute proteins (pAgos) participate in host defense by DNA interference, whereas eukaryotic Argonaute proteins (eAgos) control a wide range of processes by RNA interference. Here we review molecular mechanisms of guide and target binding by Argonaute(More)
Small guide RNAs play important roles in cellular processes such as regulation of gene expression and host defense against invading nucleic acids. The mode of action of small RNAs relies on protein-assisted base pairing of the guide RNA with target mRNA or DNA to interfere with their transcription, translation, or replication. Several unrelated classes of(More)
Syntrophobacter fumaroxidans strain MPOB(T) is the best-studied species of the genus Syntrophobacter. The species is of interest because of its anaerobic syntrophic lifestyle, its involvement in the conversion of propionate to acetate, H2 and CO2 during the overall degradation of organic matter, and its release of products that serve as substrates for other(More)
Functions of prokaryotic Argonautes (pAgo) have long remained elusive. Recently, Argonautes of the bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Thermus thermophilus were demonstrated to be involved in host defense. The Argonaute of the archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus (PfAgo) belongs to a different branch in the phylogenetic tree, which is most closely related to that(More)
BACKGROUND Eukaryotic Argonaute proteins mediate RNA-guided RNA interference, allowing both regulation of host gene expression and defense against invading mobile genetic elements. Recently, it has become evident that prokaryotic Argonaute homologs mediate DNA-guided DNA interference, and play a role in host defense. Argonaute of the bacterium Thermus(More)
Several prokaryotic Argonaute proteins (pAgos) utilize small DNA guides to mediate host defense by targeting invading DNA complementary to the DNA guide. It is unknown how these DNA guides are being generated and loaded onto pAgo. Here, we demonstrate that guide-free Argonaute from Thermus thermophilus (TtAgo) can degrade double-stranded DNA (dsDNA),(More)