CRISPR-Cas functions beyond defence-SPP2141
One of the most exciting breakthroughs in biology in the past decade has been the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas system. Initially identified as a prokaryotic defence system, we now know that defence is just one of many functions of this molecular machine. Thus, the prevailing view of CRISPR-Cas as a defence system is too narrow. Other important cellular processes are carried out by the CRISPR-Cas system, such as virulence regulation, DNA repair and the regulation of group behaviour, to name only a few. In some cases, CRISPR- Cas systems may even have completely lost their immune-related functions. At this time, we have barely begun to understand the full biological potential of this system. The newly revealed functions of the CRISPR-Cas system promise exciting biological discoveries and surprising insights into the new activities and will open several novel avenues of research. Thus far, the new CRISPR-Cas functions have primarily been discovered fortuitously and systematic approaches to detect new functions are lacking. The SPP2141 aims at finding new CRISPR-Cas fuctions beyond defence using a systematic coordinated approach with 21 interdisciplinary groups.