The CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)–Cas (CRISPR-associated) system protects prokaryotes from infection by viruses and other potential genome invaders. This system represents an inheritable and adaptable immune system that is mediated by large ribonucleoprotein complexes, the CRISPR–Cas effector complexes. The Cmr complex is unique among CRISPR–Cas effector complexes in that it destroys invading RNA and not DNA. To date, the Cmr complexes from two species have been characterized in vitro and, strikingly, they degrade RNA via distinct mechanisms. The possible in vivo targets, as well as our current knowledge of the Cmr complex, is reviewed in the present paper.

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