Image_1_Exploration of the Diversity of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats-Cas Systems in Clostridium novyi sensu lato.TIF
Classified as the genospecies Clostridium novyi sensu lato and distributed into four lineages (I–IV), Clostridium botulinum (group III), Clostridium novyi, and Clostridium haemolyticum are clostridial pathogens that cause animal diseases. Clostridium novyi sensu lato contains a large mobilome consisting of plasmids and circular bacteriophages. Here, we explored clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) arrays and their associated proteins (Cas) to shed light on the link between evolution of CRISPR-Cas systems and the plasmid and phage composition in a study of 58 Clostridium novyi sensu lato genomes. In 55 of these genomes, types I-B (complete or partial), I-D, II-C, III-B, III-D, or V-U CRISPR-Cas systems were detected in chromosomes as well as in mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Type I-B predominated (67.2%) and was the only CRISPR type detected in the Ia, III, and IV genomic lineages. Putative type V-U CRISPR Cas14a genes were detected in two different cases: next to partial type-IB CRISPR loci on the phage encoding the botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) in lineage Ia and in 12 lineage II genomes, as part of a putative integrative element related to a phage-inducible chromosomal island (PICI). In the putative PICI, Cas14a was associated with CRISPR arrays and restriction modification (RM) systems as part of an accessory locus. This is the first time a PICI containing such locus has been detected in C. botulinum. Mobilome composition and dynamics were also investigated based on the contents of the CRISPR arrays and the study of spacers. A large proportion of identified protospacers (20.2%) originated from Clostridium novyi sensu lato (p1_Cst, p4_BKT015925, p6_Cst, CWou-2020a, p1_BKT015925, and p2_BKT015925), confirming active exchanges within this genospecies and the key importance of specific MGEs in Clostridium novyi sensu lato.