The Immune System of Bacteria: Beyond CRISPR
Rotem Sorek, Ph.D.
Incumbent of the Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Career Development Chair, Department of Molecular Genetics
Weizmann Institute of Science
Our lab of microbial genomics and systems biology focuses on the interactions between bacteria and the viruses that infect them (phages). We study how phages attack bacteria, and how bacteria defend themselves against such attacks. We are interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms providing bacteria with protection against phages, collectively known as the "immune system" of bacteria. Specifically, we study the CRISPR-Cas system, as well as new anti-phage defense systems discovered in our lab. Our studies found that important components of the human innate immune system have originated from bacterial defense systems that protect from phages. We also discovered that phages can use small-molecule communication in order to coordinate their infection dynamics - our lab studies the molecular mechanisms allowing such communication.
Our research combines computational genomics techniques, systems biology, metagenomics, high-throughput sequencing technologies, and modern experimental approaches in microbiology and phage biology.
*Note, CME will not be offered for this lecture
The arms race between bacteria and phages led to the development of sophisticated anti-phage defense systems, including CRISPR-Cas and restriction systems. We recently discovered that the microbial pan-genome contains many new defense systems whose function was so far unexplored. The talk will describe the mechanisms of action of recently discovered new anti-phage systems. Surprisingly, our studies show that bacterial defense from phage gave rise to important components in the eukaryotic immune system.
*To understand the basic principles of the bacterial immune system
*To learn about new developments in the field of bacterial immunity
*To learn how components of the human immune system have evolutionarily originated from bacterial defense systems
This page was last updated on Monday, January 23, 2023