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0 Q&A 2428 Views Nov 5, 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As this virus is classified as a biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) agent, the development of countermeasures and basic research methods is logistically difficult. Recently, using reverse genetics, we developed a BSL-2 cell culture system for production of transcription- and replication-component virus-like-particles (trVLPs) by genetic transcomplementation. The system consists of two parts: SARS-CoV-2 GFP/ΔN genomic RNA, in which the nucleocapsid (N) gene, a critical gene for virion packaging, is replaced by a GFP reporter gene; and a packaging cell line for ectopic expression of N (Caco-2-N). The complete viral life cycle can be recapitulated and confined to Caco-2-N cells, with GFP positivity serving as a surrogate readout for viral infection. In addition, we utilized an intein-mediated protein splicing technique to split the N gene into two independent vectors and generated the Caco-2-Nintein cells as a packaging cell line to further enhance the security of this cell culture model. Altogether, this system provides for a safe and convenient method to produce trVLPs in BSL-2 laboratories. These trVLPs can be modified to incorporate desired mutations, permitting high-throughput screening of antiviral compounds and evaluation of neutralizing antibodies. This protocol describes the details of the trVLP cell culture model to make SARS-CoV-2 research more readily accessible.

0 Q&A 6577 Views Feb 5, 2019
Homologous recombination between two similar DNA molecules, plays an important role in the repair of double-stranded DNA breaks. Recombination can occur between two sister chromosomes, or between two locations of similar sequence identity within the same chromosome. The assay described here is designed to measure the rate of homologous recombination between two locations with sequence similarity within the same bacterial chromosome. For this purpose, a selectable/counter-selectable genetic cassette is inserted into one of the locations and homologous recombination repair rates are measured as a function of recombinational removal of the inserted cassette. This recombinational repair process is called gene conversion, non-reciprocal recombination. We used this method to measure the recombination rates between genes within gene families and to study the stability of mobile genetic elements inserted into members of gene families.

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