Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Biotechnology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Methodology article

GAL1-SceI directed site-specific genomic (gsSSG) mutagenesis: a method for precisely targeting point mutations in S. cerevisiae

Sarah Piccirillo1, Hsiao-Lin Wang1, Thomas J Fisher2 and Saul M Honigberg1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City MO 64110, USA

2 Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City MO 64110, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Biotechnology 2011, 11:120  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-11-120

Published: 5 December 2011



Precise targeted mutations are defined as targeted mutations that do not require the retention of other genetic changes, such as marker genes, near the mutation site. In the yeast, S. cerevisiae, there are several methods for introducing precise targeted mutations, all of which depend on inserting both a counter-selectable marker and DNA bearing the mutation. For example, the marker can first be inserted, and then replaced with either a long oligonucleotide carrying the mutation (delitto perfetto) or a PCR fragment synthesized with one primer containing the mutation (SSG mutagenesis).


A hybrid method for targeting precise mutation into the genomes uses PCR fragments as in SSG mutagenesis together with a CORE cassette devised for delitto perfetto that contains the homing endonuclease SceI. This method, termed gsSSG mutagenesis, is much more efficient than standard SSG mutagenesis, allowing replacements to be identified without extensive screening of isolates. In gsSSG, recombination between the PCR fragment and the genome occurs equally efficiently regardless of the size of the fragment or the distance between the fragment end and the site of marker insertion. In contrast, the efficiency of incorporating targeted mutations by this method increases as the distance between the mutation and the marker insertion site decreases.


gsSSG is an efficient way of introducing precise mutations into the genome of S. cerevisiae. The frequency of incorporating the targeted mutation remains efficient at least as far as 460 bp from the insertion site meaning that a single insertion can be used to create many different mutants. The overall efficiency of gsSSG can be estimated based on the distance between the mutation and the marker insertion, and this efficiency can be maximized by limiting the number of untargeted mutations. Thus, a single insertion of marker genes plus homing endonuclease cassette can be used to efficiently introduce precise point mutations through a region of > 900 bp.