“Bacteria have developed a formidable arsenal of sophisticated strategies to neutralize viruses, but phages always seem to find a way to evolve, persist and abound. Studies of the complex evolutionary dynamics between phages and bacteria led to the discovery of a widespread bacterial defence system called CRISPR/Cas. On page 489 of this issue, Seed et al. report the remarkable finding that some phages that infect the bacterial pathogen Vibrio cholerae have also acquired a functional CRISPR/Cas system in their own genome which allows them to neutralize an unrelated antivirus system in their bacterial host”
So many people have pointed this out to me today that I just HAD to do something on it.
This is a seriously big deal, in our understanding of the arms race between viruses and their hosts: here we have a virus that is circumventing a widespread antiviral defence system in bacteria, by using elements of the system against the bacteria – and it can adapt to match its hijacked system to that of the host.
Not only stranger than we imagine; sometimes stranger than we CAN imagine – or just way more sophisticated than we thought.
See on www.nature.com