Most everyday processes in life involve a necessity for an entity to locate its target. On a cellular level, many proteins have to find their target to perform their function. From gene-expression regulation to DNA repair to host defense, numerous nucleic acid-interacting proteins use distinct target search mechanisms. Several proteins achieve that with the help of short RNA strands known as guides. This review focuses on single-molecule advances studying the target search and recognition mechanism of Argonaute and CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) systems. We discuss different steps involved in search and recognition, from the initial complex prearrangement into the target-search competent state to the final proofreading steps. We focus on target search mechanisms that range from weak interactions, to one- and three-dimensional diffusion, to conformational proofreading. We compare the mechanisms of Argonaute and CRISPR with a well-studied target search system, RecA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-593
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Biophysics
Volume47
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • CRISPR, microRNA, RecA, single-molecule, target search

ID: 45304203