Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


The case of the mysterious messenger

Bacteria and archaea use an innate immune system called CRISPR–Cas to combat viral infection. The identification of a family of molecules that play a key part in this system deepens our understanding of such immunity. See Article p.543

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Signalling in type III CRISPR–Cas systems.


  1. See all news & views


  1. Niewoehner, O. et al. Nature 548, 543–548 (2017).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Kazlauskiene, M., Kostiuk, G., Venclovas, Č., Tamulaitis, G. & Siksnys, V. Science 357, 605–609 (2017).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Samai, P. et al. Cell 161, 1164–1174 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Hatoum-Aslan, A., Maniv, I., Samai, P. & Marraffini, L. A. J. Bacteriol. 196, 310–317 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Jiang, W., Samai, P. & Marraffini, L. A. Cell 164, 710–721 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Niewoehner, O. & Jinek, M. RNA 22, 318–329 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Yan, X., Guo, W. & Yuan Y. A. RNA Biol. 12, 749–760 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Osawa, T., Inanaga, H. & Numata, T. J. Mol. Biol. 425, 3811–3823 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Lintner, N. G. et al. J. Mol. Biol. 405, 939–955 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Hornung, V., Hartmann, R., Ablasser, A. & Hopfner, K. P. Nature Rev. Immunol. 14, 521–528 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Scott Bailey.

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Microbiology: How bacteria get spacers from invaders

Microbiology: Bacteria get vaccinated

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Johnson, K., Bailey, S. The case of the mysterious messenger. Nature 548, 527–528 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing Microbiology

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Microbiology newsletter — what matters in microbiology research, free to your inbox weekly.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Microbiology