Bacteria and archaea have evolved sophisticated adaptive immune systems that rely on CRISPR RNA (crRNA)-guided detection and nuclease-mediated elimination of invading nucleic acids. In this presentation, I will summarize recent bioinformatic, biochemical, and structural studies that explain how protein-mediated genome folding allosterically enhances site-specific integration of foreign DNA into CRISPRs and how CRISPR systems have been adapted for applications in diagnostics.
Blake Wiedenheft - Dr. Wiedenheft received his Ph.D in the joint laboratories of professors Mark Young and Trevor Douglas at the Thermal Biology Institute, where his work focused on the viruses that infect microorganisms that thrive in boiling-acid (~80C, ~pH 3) environments. After completing his Ph.D in 2007, Dr. Wiedenheft joined professor Jennifer Doudna’s lab at UC-Berkeley as a Life Sciences Fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Wiedenheft recently joined the faculty at Montana State University, where his research team is currently focused on understanding the mechanisms of CRISPR RNA-guided adaptive immunity and how these immune systems can be leveraged for new applications in medicine and biotechnology.