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.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 16, 2022