Phenotypic expression of PCR-generated random mutations in a Pseudomonas putida gene after its introduction into an Acinetobacter chromosome by natural transformation.
Localized sets of random point mutations generated by PCR amplification can be transferred efficiently to the chromosome of Acinetobacter ADP1 (also known as strain BD413) by natural transformation. The technique does not require cloning of PCR fragments in plasmids: PCR-amplified DNA fragments are internalized by cells and directly incorporated into their genomes by homologous recombination. Previously such procedures for random mutagenesis could be applied only to Acinetobacter genes affording the selection of mutant phenotypes. Here we describe the construction of a vector and recipient that allow for mutagenesis, recovery, and expression of heterologous genes that may lack a positive selection. The plasmid carries an Acinetobacter chromosomal segment interrupted by a multiple cloning site next to a kanamycin resistance marker. The insertion of heterologous DNA into the multiple cloning site prepares the insert as a target for PCR mutagenesis. PCR amplifies the kanamycin resistance marker and a flanking region of Acinetobacter DNA along with the insert of heterologous DNA. Nucleotide sequence identity between the flanking regions and corresponding chromosomal segments in an engineered Acinetobacter recipient allows homologous recombination of the PCR-amplified DNA fragments into a specific chromosomal docking site from which they can be expressed. The recipient strain contains only a portion of the kanamycin resistance gene, so donor DNA containing both this gene and the mutagenized insert can be selected by demanding growth of recombinants in the presence of kanamycin. The effectiveness of the technique was demonstrated with the relatively GC-rich Pseudomonas putida xylE gene. After only one round of PCR amplification (35 cycles), donor DNA produced transformants of which up to 30% carried a defective xylE gene after growth at 37 degrees C. Of recombinant clones that failed to express xylE at 37 degrees C, about 10% expressed the gene when grown at 22 degrees C. The techniques described here could be adapted to prepare colonies with an altered function in any gene for which either a selection or a suitable phenotypic screen exists. (+info)
Isolation and characterization of two cryptic plasmids in the ammonia-oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas sp. strain ENI-11.
Two plasmids were discovered in the ammonia-oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas sp. strain ENI-11, which was isolated from activated sludge. The plasmids, designated pAYS and pAYL, were relatively small, being approximately 1.9 kb long. They were cryptic plasmids, having no detectable plasmid-linked antibiotic resistance or heavy metal resistance markers. The complete nucleotide sequences of pAYS and pAYL were determined, and their physical maps were constructed. There existed two major open reading frames, ORF1 in pAYS and ORF2 in pAYL, each of which was more than 500 bp long. The predicted product of ORF2 was 28% identical to part of the replication protein of a Bacillus plasmid, pBAA1. However, no significant similarity to any known protein sequences was detected with the predicted product of ORF1. pAYS and pAYL had a highly homologous region, designated HHR, of 262 bp. The overall identity was 98% between the two nucleotide sequences. Interestingly, HHR-homologous sequences were also detected in the genomes of ENI-11 and the plasmidless strain Nitrosomonas europaea IFO14298. Deletion analysis of pAYS and pAYL indicated that HHR, together with either ORF1 or ORF2, was essential for plasmid maintenance in ENI-11. To our knowledge, pAYS and pAYL are the first plasmids found in the ammonia-oxidizing autotrophic bacteria. (+info)
Double-strand break-induced recombination between ectopic homologous sequences in somatic plant cells.
Homologous recombination between ectopic sites is rare in higher eukaryotes. To test whether double-strand breaks (DSBs) can induce ectopic recombination, transgenic tobacco plants harboring two unlinked, nonfunctional homologous parts of a kanamycin resistance gene were produced. To induce homologous recombination between the recipient locus (containing an I-SceI site within homologous sequences) and the donor locus, the rare cutting restriction enzyme I-SceI was transiently expressed via Agrobacterium in these plants. Whereas without I-SceI expression no recombination events were detectable, four independent recombinants could be isolated after transient I-SceI expression, corresponding to approximately one event in 10(5) transformations. After regeneration, the F1 generation of all recombinants showed Mendelian segregation of kanamycin resistance. Molecular analysis of the recombinants revealed that the resistance gene was indeed restored via homologous recombination. Three different kinds of reaction products could be identified. In one recombinant a classical gene conversion without exchange of flanking markers occurred. In the three other cases homologous sequences were transferred only to one end of the break. Whereas in three cases the ectopic donor sequence remained unchanged, in one case rearrangements were found in recipient and donor loci. Thus, ectopic homologous recombination, which seems to be a minor repair pathway for DSBs in plants, is described best by recombination models that postulate independent roles for the break ends during the repair process. (+info)
Normalization of array hybridization experiments in differential gene expression analysis.
For detecting and confirming differentially expressed genes it is necessary to have a trustworthy reference. So called 'housekeeping genes' are frequently used for this purpose as internal standard. However, if the influence of new experimental conditions is to be analyzed it is not safe to assume a priori that the expression of these genes is not affected. Therefore two synthetic poly(A)-RNAs were generated by PCR and in vitro transcription. They were used as external standards for normalization of northern blots and cDNA arrays where non-regulated genes as internal reference were not available. (+info)
Isolation, oxygen sensitivity, and virulence of NADH oxidase mutants of the anaerobic spirochete Brachyspira (Serpulina) hyodysenteriae, etiologic agent of swine dysentery.
Brachyspira (Serpulina) hyodysenteriae, the etiologic agent of swine dysentery, uses the enzyme NADH oxidase to consume oxygen. To investigate possible roles for NADH oxidase in the growth and virulence of this anaerobic spirochete, mutant strains deficient in oxidase activity were isolated and characterized. The cloned NADH oxidase gene (nox; GenBank accession no. U19610) on plasmid pER218 was inactivated by replacing 321 bp of coding sequence with either a gene for chloramphenicol resistance (cat) or a gene for kanamycin resistance (kan). The resulting plasmids, respectively, pCmDeltaNOX and pKmDeltaNOX, were used to transform wild-type B. hyodysenteriae B204 cells and generate the antibiotic-resistant strains Nox-Cm and Nox-Km. PCR and Southern hybridization analyses indicated that the chromosomal wild-type nox genes in these strains had been replaced, through allelic exchange, by the inactivated nox gene containing cat or kan. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western immunoblot analysis revealed that both nox mutant cell lysates were missing the 48-kDa Nox protein. Soluble NADH oxidase activity levels in cell lysates of Nox-Cm and Nox-Km were reduced 92 to 96% compared to the activity level in parent strain B204. In an aerotolerance test, cells of both nox mutants were at least 100-fold more sensitive to oxygen exposure than were cells of the wild-type parent strain B204. In swine experimental infections, both nox mutants were less virulent than strain B204 in that fewer animals were colonized by the mutant cells and infected animals displayed mild, transient signs of disease, with no deaths. These results provide evidence that NADH oxidase serves to protect B. hyodysenteriae cells against oxygen toxicity and that the enzyme, in that role, contributes to the pathogenic ability of the spirochete. (+info)
Directed evolution of thermostable kanamycin-resistance gene: a convenient selection marker for Thermus thermophilus.
The whole-genome sequencing of an extreme thermophile, Thermus thermophilus, is now in progress. Like other genome projects, major concern is shifting from the sequence itself to post-sequencing research such as functional or structural genomics. Under such circumstances, the demand for convenient genetic-engineering tools is increasing. In this study we have increased the thermostability of a kanamycin-resistance gene product using strategies based on directed evolution in T. thermophilus to the upper limit of its growth temperature. The most thermostable mutant has 19 amino-acid substitutions, whereby the thermostability is increased by 20 degrees C, but the enzymatic activity is not significantly changed. Most of the mutated residues are located on the surface of the protein molecule, and, interestingly, five of the 19 substitutions are those to proline residues. The evolved kanamycin-resistance gene products could be used as selection markers at the optimum growth temperature of T. thermophilus. The development of such a convenient genetic-engineering tool would facilitate post-sequencing research on T. thermophilus. (+info)
Natural transformation of Acinetobacter sp. strain BD413 with cell lysates of Acinetobacter sp., Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Burkholderia cepacia in soil microcosms.
To elucidate the biological significance of dead bacterial cells in soil to the intra- and interspecies transfer of gene fragments by natural transformation, we have exposed the kanamycin-sensitive recipient Acinetobacter sp. strain BD413(pFG4) to lysates of the kanamycin-resistant donor bacteria Acinetobacter spp., Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Burkholderia cepacia. Detection of gene transfer was facilitated by the recombinational repair of a partially (317 bp) deleted kanamycin resistance gene in the recipient bacterium. The investigation revealed a significant potential of these DNA sources to transform Acinetobacter spp. residing both in sterile and in nonsterile silt loam soil. Heat-treated (80 degrees C, 15 min) cell lysates were capable of transforming strain BD413 after 4 days of incubation in sterile soil and for up to 8 h in nonsterile soil. Transformation efficiencies obtained in vitro and in situ with the various lysates were similar to or exceeded those obtained with conventionally purified DNA. The presence of cell debris did not inhibit transformation in soil, and the debris may protect DNA from rapid biological inactivation. Natural transformation thus provides Acinetobacter spp. with an efficient mechanism to access genetic information from different bacterial species in soil. The relatively short-term biological activity (e.g., transforming activity) of chromosomal DNA in soil contrasts the earlier reported long-term physical stability of DNA, where fractions have been found to persist for several weeks in soil. Thus, there seems to be a clear difference between the physical and the functional significance of chromosomal DNA in soil. (+info)
Disruption of the genes encoding antigen 85A and antigen 85B of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv: effect on growth in culture and in macrophages.
The mechanism of pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is thought to be multifactorial. Among the putative virulence factors is the antigen 85 (Ag85) complex. This family of exported fibronectin-binding proteins consists of members Ag85A, Ag85B, and Ag85C and is most prominently represented by 85A and 85B. These proteins have recently been shown to possess mycolyl transferase activity and likely play a role in cell wall synthesis. The purpose of this study was to generate strains of M. tuberculosis deficient in expression of the principal members of this complex in order to determine their role in the pathogenesis of M. tuberculosis. Constructs of fbpA and fbpB disrupted with the kanamycin resistance marker OmegaKm and containing varying amounts of flanking gene and plasmid vector sequences were then introduced as linear fragments into H37Rv by electroporation. Southern blot and PCR analyses revealed disruption of the homologous gene locus in one fbpA::OmegaKm transformant and one fbpB::OmegaKm transformant. The fbpA::OmegaKm mutant, LAa1, resulted from a double-crossover integration event, whereas the fbpB::OmegaKm variant, LAb1, was the product of a single-crossover type event that resulted in insertion of both OmegaKm and plasmid sequences. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blot analysis confirmed that expression of the disrupted gene was not detectable in the fbpA and fbpB mutants. Analysis of growth rates demonstrated that the fbpB mutant LAb1 grew at a rate similar to that of the wild-type parent in enriched and nutrient-poor laboratory media as well as in human (THP-1) and mouse (J774.1A) macrophage-like cell lines. The fbpA mutant LAa1 grew similarly to the parent H37Rv in enriched laboratory media but exhibited little or no growth in nutrient-poor media and macrophage-like cell lines. The targeted disruption of two genes encoding mycolyl transferase and fibronectin-binding activities in M. tuberculosis will permit the systematic determination of their roles in the physiology and pathogenesis of this organism. (+info)