Helicase Cas3, CRISPR-associated, Anaes-subtype (IPR013444)

Short name: Helicase_Cas3_CRISPR-ass_Anaes

Overlapping homologous superfamilies


Family relationships



The CRISPR-Cas system is a prokaryotic defense mechanism against foreign genetic elements. The key elements of this defense system are the Cas proteins and the CRISPR RNA.

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) are a family of DNA direct repeats separated by regularly sized non-repetitive spacer sequences that are found in most bacterial and archaeal genomes [PMID: 17442114]. CRISPRs appear to provide acquired resistance against mobile genetic elements (viruses, transposable elements and conjugative plasmids). CRISPR clusters contain sequences complementary to antecedent mobile elements and target invading nucleic acids. CRISPR clusters are transcribed and processed into CRISPR RNA (crRNA).

The defense reaction is divided into three stages. In the adaptation stage, the invader DNA is cleaved, and a piece of it is selected to be integrated as a new spacer into the CRISPR locus, where it is stored as an identity tag for future attacks by this invader. During the second stage (the expression stage), the CRISPR RNA (pre-crRNA) is transcribed and subsequently processed into the mature crRNAs. In the third stage (the interference stage), Cas proteins, together with crRNAs, identify and degrade the invader [PMID: 17379808, PMID: 16545108, PMID: 21699496].

The CRISPR-Cas systems have been sorted into three major classes. In CRISPR-Cas types I and III, the mature crRNA is generally generated by a member of the Cas6 protein family. Whereas in system III the Cas6 protein acts alone, in some class I systems it is part of a complex of Cas proteins known as Cascade (CRISPR-associated complex for antiviral defense). The Cas6 protein is an endoribonuclease necessary for crRNA production whereas the additional Cas proteins that form the Cascade complex are needed for crRNA stability [PMID: 24459147].

This entry represents a subfamily of Cas3 DEAH-box helicases found in Actinomyces naeslundii MG1, Geobacter sulfurreducens PCA, Gemmata obscuriglobus UQM 2246, and Desulfotalea psychrophila. The proteins include both DEAH and HD motifs. Cas3 is one of four protein families (Cas1 to Cas4) that are associated with CRISPR elements and always occur near a repeat cluster, usually in the order cas3-cas4-cas1-cas2 [PMID: 11952905].

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.