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The lambda Red recombination system has been used to inactivate chromosomal genes in various bacteria and fungi. The procedure consists of electroporating a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) fragment containing antibiotic cassette flanked by homology regions to the target locus into a strain that can express the lambda Red proteins (Gam, Bet, Exo). Here a scarless gene modification strategy based on the Red recombination system has been developed to modify Pseudomonas genome DNA via sequential deletion of multiple targets. This process was mediated by plasmid pRKaraRed encoding the Red proteins regulated by PBAD promoter, which was functional in P. aeruginosa as well as in other bacteria. First the target gene was substituted for the sacB-bla cassette flanked by short homology regions (50 bp), and then this marker gene cassette could be replaced by the PCR fragment flanking itself, generating target-deleted genome without any remnants and no change happened to the surrounding region. Twenty genes involved in the synthesis and regulation pathways of the phenazine derivate, pyocyanin, were modified, including one single-point mutation and deletion of two large operons. The recombination efficiencies ranged from 88% to 98%. Multiple-gene modification was also achieved, generating a triple-gene deletion strain PCA (PAO1, DeltaphzHDeltaphzMDeltaphzS), which could produce another phenazine derivate, phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA), efficiently and exclusively. This lambda Red-based technique can be used to generate scarless and sequential gene modification mutants of P. aeruginosa efficiently, using one-step PCR product flanked by short homology regions. Single-point mutation, scarless deletion of genes can be achieved easily in less than three days. This method may give a new way to construct genetically modified P. aeruginosa strains more efficiently and advance the regulatory network study of this organism.


Rubing Liang, Jianhua Liu. Scarless and sequential gene modification in Pseudomonas using PCR product flanked by short homology regions. BMC microbiology. 2010;10:209

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PMID: 20682065

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