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Open Access Research article

Altering the selection capabilities of common cloning vectors via restriction enzyme mediated gene disruption

Sam Manna, Ashley Harman, Jessica Accari and Christian Barth*

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:85  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-85

Published: 6 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The cloning of gene sequences forms the basis for many molecular biological studies. One important step in the cloning process is the isolation of bacterial transformants carrying vector DNA. This involves a vector-encoded selectable marker gene, which in most cases, confers resistance to an antibiotic. However, there are a number of circumstances in which a different selectable marker is required or may be preferable. Such situations can include restrictions to host strain choice, two phase cloning experiments and mutagenesis experiments, issues that result in additional unnecessary cloning steps, in which the DNA needs to be subcloned into a vector with a suitable selectable marker.

Results

We have used restriction enzyme mediated gene disruption to modify the selectable marker gene of a given vector by cloning a different selectable marker gene into the original marker present in that vector. Cloning a new selectable marker into a pre-existing marker was found to change the selection phenotype conferred by that vector, which we were able to demonstrate using multiple commonly used vectors and multiple resistance markers. This methodology was also successfully applied not only to cloning vectors, but also to expression vectors while keeping the expression characteristics of the vector unaltered.

Conclusions

Changing the selectable marker of a given vector has a number of advantages and applications. This rapid and efficient method could be used for co-expression of recombinant proteins, optimisation of two phase cloning procedures, as well as multiple genetic manipulations within the same host strain without the need to remove a pre-existing selectable marker in a previously genetically modified strain.

Keywords:
Molecular cloning; Gene disruption; Selection of transformants; Antibiotic resistance