SMC-based immunity against extrachromosomal DNA elementsHon Wing Liu, Florian Roisné-Hamelin, Stephan Gruber
SMC and SMC-like complexes promote chromosome folding and genome maintenance in all domains of life. Recently, they were also recognized as factors in cellular immunity against foreign DNA. In bacteria and archaea, Wadjet and Lamassu are anti-plasmid/phage defence systems, while Smc5/6 and Rad50 complexes play a role in anti-viral immunity in humans. This raises an intriguing paradox — how can the same, or closely related, complexes on one hand secure the integrity and maintenance of chromosomal DNA, while on the other recognize and restrict extrachromosomal DNA? In this minireview, we will briefly describe the latest understanding of each of these complexes in immunity including speculations on how principles of SMC(-like) function may explain how the systems recognize linear or circular forms of invading DNA.