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Edze R. Westra


Ph.D., Wageningen University, the Netherlands, 2013

Current position

Marie-Curie fellow with Professor Buckling, A., University of Exeter (08/2013-08/2015)


  1. Jackson, R. N., Golden, S. M., van Erp, P. B., Carter, J., Westra, E. R., Brouns, S. J., van der Oost, J., Terwilliger, T. C., Read, R. J. and Wiedenheft, B. (2014). Structural biology. Crystal structure of the CRISPR RNA-guided surveillance complex from Escherichia coli. Science 345(6203): 1473-1479.
  2. van der Oost, J., Westra, E. R., Jackson, R. N. and Wiedenheft, B. (2014). Unravelling the structural and mechanistic basis of CRISPR-Cas systems. Nat Rev Microbiol 12(7): 479-492.
  3. Westra, E. R., Buckling, A. and Fineran, P. C. (2014). CRISPR-Cas systems: beyond adaptive immunity. Nat Rev Microbiol 12(5): 317-326.
  4. Swarts, D. C., Jore, M. M., Westra, E. R., Zhu, Y., Janssen, J. H., Snijders, A. P., Wang, Y., Patel, D. J., Berenguer, J., Brouns, S. J. and van der Oost, J. (2014). DNA-guided DNA interference by a prokaryotic Argonaute. Nature 507(7491): 258-261.
  5. Westra, E. R., Semenova, E., Datsenko, K. A., Jackson, R. N., Wiedenheft, B., Severinov, K. and Brouns, S. J. (2013). Type I-E CRISPR-cas systems discriminate target from non-target DNA through base pairing-independent PAM recognition. PLoS Genet 9(9): e1003742.
  6. Ruigrok, V. J., Westra, E. R., Brouns, S. J., Escude, C., Smidt, H. and van der Oost, J. (2013). A capture approach for supercoiled plasmid DNA using a triplex-forming oligonucleotide. Nucleic Acids Res 41(10): e111.
  7. Westra, E. R., Staals, R. H., Gort, G., Hogh, S., Neumann, S., de la Cruz, F., Fineran, P. C. and Brouns, S. J. (2013). CRISPR-Cas systems preferentially target the leading regions of MOBF conjugative plasmids. RNA Biol 10(5): 749-761.
  8. Arslan, Z., Westra, E. R., Wagner, R. and Pul, Ü. (2013). Regulation of CRISPR-based immune responses. In: CRISPR-Cas Systems. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 93-113.
  9. Westra, E. R., Swarts, D. C., Staals, R. H., Jore, M. M., Brouns, S. J. and van der Oost, J. (2012). The CRISPRs, they are a-changin': how prokaryotes generate adaptive immunity. Annu Rev Genet 46: 311-339.
  10. Westra, E. R. and Brouns, S. J. (2012). The rise and fall of CRISPRs--dynamics of spacer acquisition and loss. Mol Microbiol 85(6): 1021-1025.
  11. Westra, E. R., Nilges, B., van Erp, P. B., van der Oost, J., Dame, R. T. and Brouns, S. J. (2012). Cascade-mediated binding and bending of negatively supercoiled DNA. RNA Biol 9(9): 1134-1138.
  12. Westra, E. R., Jore, M. M., Al-Attar, S., Brouns, S. J. and van der Oost, J. (2012). Small RNAs in bacteria. In: Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry 2nd edition.
  13. Westra, E. R., van Erp, P. B., Kunne, T., Wong, S. P., Staals, R. H., Seegers, C. L., Bollen, S., Jore, M. M., Semenova, E., Severinov, K., de Vos, W. M., Dame, R. T., de Vries, R., Brouns, S. J. and van der Oost, J. (2012). CRISPR immunity relies on the consecutive binding and degradation of negatively supercoiled invader DNA by Cascade and Cas3. Mol Cell 46(5): 595-605.
    *Featured as a Research Highlight in Nature Reviews Microbiology: S. Molloy. Bacterial genetics: Hitting the CRISPR target. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012, 10:376-377
    *Featured in the Science Supplement of a main Dutch national newspaper (NRC Handelsblad): Hoe Bacteriën vechten tegen hun vijanden, Wetenchapsbijlage, Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th of April 2012 (in Dutch)
  14. van Duijn, E., Barbu, I. M., Barendregt, A., Jore, M. M., Wiedenheft, B., Lundgren, M., Westra, E. R., Brouns, S. J., Doudna, J. A., van der Oost, J. and Heck, A. J. (2012). Native tandem and ion mobility mass spectrometry highlight structural and modular similarities in clustered-regularly-interspaced shot-palindromic-repeats (CRISPR)-associated protein complexes from Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Mol Cell Proteomics 11(11): 1430-1441.
  15. Semenova, E., Jore, M. M., Datsenko, K. A., Semenova, A., Westra, E. R., Wanner, B., van der Oost, J., Brouns, S. J. and Severinov, K. (2011). Interference by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) RNA is governed by a seed sequence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108(25): 10098-10103.
  16. Jore, M. M., Lundgren, M., van Duijn, E., Bultema, J. B., Westra, E. R., Waghmare, S. P., Wiedenheft, B., Pul, U., Wurm, R., Wagner, R., Beijer, M. R., Barendregt, A., Zhou, K., Snijders, A. P., Dickman, M. J., Doudna, J. A., Boekema, E. J., Heck, A. J., van der Oost, J. and Brouns, S. J. (2011). Structural basis for CRISPR RNA-guided DNA recognition by Cascade. Nat Struct Mol Biol 18(5): 529-536.
  17. Al-Attar, S., Westra, E. R., van der Oost, J. and Brouns, S. J. (2011). Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs): the hallmark of an ingenious antiviral defense mechanism in prokaryotes. Biol Chem 392(4): 277-289.
  18. Westra, E. R., Pul, U., Heidrich, N., Jore, M. M., Lundgren, M., Stratmann, T., Wurm, R., Raine, A., Mescher, M., Van Heereveld, L., Mastop, M., Wagner, E. G., Schnetz, K., Van Der Oost, J., Wagner, R. and Brouns, S. J. (2010). H-NS-mediated repression of CRISPR-based immunity in Escherichia coli K12 can be relieved by the transcription activator LeuO. Mol Microbiol 77(6): 1380-1393.
    *Featured in a Microcommentary in Molecular Microbiology: FJ Mojica, C Díez-Villaseñor. The on-off switch of CRISPR immunity against phages in Escherichia coli. Mol. Microbiol. 2010;77(6):1341-5
  19. Abu-Dayyeh, I., Hassani, K., Westra, E. R., Mottram, J. C. and Olivier, M. (2010). Comparative study of the ability of Leishmania mexicana promastigotes and amastigotes to alter macrophage signaling and functions. Infect Immun 78(6): 2438-2445.
  20. Westra E. R., van der Oost, J. and Brouns, S. J. (2010). CRISPR based immunity in prokaryotes. In: McGraw Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology.
  21. van der Oost, J., Jore, M. M., Westra, E. R., Lundgren, M. and Brouns, S. J. (2009). CRISPR-based adaptive and heritable immunity in prokaryotes. Trends Biochem Sci 34(8): 401-407.
  22. Brouns, S. J., Jore, M. M., Lundgren, M., Westra, E. R., Slijkhuis, R. J., Snijders, A. P., Dickman, M. J., Makarova, K. S., Koonin, E. V. and van der Oost, J. (2008). Small CRISPR RNAs guide antiviral defense in prokaryotes. Science 321(5891): 960-964.
    *Featured in a Perspective in Science: RF. Young III. Secret Weapon. Science. 2008, 321(5891): 922-923
    *Featured in the Science Supplement of a main Dutch national newspaper (NRC Handelsblad): Tegen de Faag, Wetenchapsbijlage, Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th of August 2008 (in Dutch)
Protocols by Edze R. Westra
  1. Purification and Sequencing of DNA Guides from Prokaryotic Argonaute