CRISPR–Cas10 assisted editing of virulent staphylococcal phages

S. M. Nayeemul Bari, Asma Hatoum-Aslan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Phages are the most abundant entities in the biosphere and profoundly impact the bacterial populations within and around us. They attach to a specific host, inject their DNA, hijack the host's cellular processes, and replicate exponentially while destroying the host. Historically, phages have been exploited as powerful antimicrobials, and phage-derived proteins have constituted the basis for numerous biotechnological applications. Only in recent years have metagenomic studies revealed that phage genomes harbor a rich reservoir of genetic diversity, which might afford further therapeutic and/or biotechnological value. Nevertheless, functions for the majority of phage genes remain unknown, and due to their swift and destructive replication cycle, many phages are intractable by current genetic engineering techniques. Whether to advance the basic understanding of phage biology or to tap into their potential applications, efficient methods for phage genetic engineering are needed. Recent reports have shown that CRISPR–Cas systems, a class of prokaryotic immune systems that protect against phage infection, can be harnessed to engineer diverse phages. In this chapter, we describe methods to genetically manipulate virulent phages using CRISPR–Cas10, a Type III-A CRISPR–Cas system native to Staphylococcus epidermidis. A method for engineering phages that infect a CRISPR-less Staphylococcus aureus host is also described. Both approaches have proved successful in isolating desired phage mutants with 100% efficiency, demonstrating that CRISPR–Cas10 constitutes a powerful tool for phage genetic engineering. The relatively widespread presence of Type III CRISPR–Cas systems in bacteria and archaea imply that similar strategies may be used to manipulate the genomes of diverse prokaryotic viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Enzymology
EditorsScott Bailey
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780128167601
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)0076-6879
ISSN (Electronic)1557-7988


  • CRISPR–Cas10
  • Genetic engineering
  • Phage
  • Staphylococci
  • Type III CRISPR–Cas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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