Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 1487 Views Jun 5, 2022

Understanding the generation of mutations is fundamental to understanding evolution and genetic disease; however, the rarity of such events makes experimentally identifying them difficult. Mutation accumulation (MA) methods have been widely used. MA lines require serial bottlenecks to fix de novo mutations, followed by whole-genome sequencing. While powerful, this method is not suitable for exploring mutation variation among different genotypes due to its poor scalability with cost and labor. Alternatively, fluctuation assays estimate mutation rate in microorganisms by utilizing a reporter gene, in which Loss-of-function (LOF) mutations can be selected for using drugs toxic to cells containing the WT allele. Traditional fluctuation assays can estimate mutation rates but not their base change compositions. Here, we describe a new protocol that adapts traditional fluctuation assay using CAN1 reporter gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, followed by pooled sequencing methods, to identify both the rate and spectra of mutations in different strain backgrounds.

0 Q&A 3315 Views Mar 5, 2021

Transposon insertion sequencing (TIS) is an emerging technique which utilizes a massive transposon mutant library to screen specific phenotype and determine the conditional essential genetic requirements for bacterial fitness under distinct conditions combined with high-throughput parallel sequencing technology. Compared with a massive mutant library in traditional TIS, the defined mutant library sequencing (DML-Seq) has advantages as: 1) efficient mutagenesis; 2) low bottleneck effects; 3) avoid hotpots caused by screening; 4) can be directly used in the following experiments. Here, we described an optimized procedure of DML-Seq for fitness screen to supply classical TIS using the marine pathogenic bacterium Edwardsiella piscicida as an example.

0 Q&A 4396 Views Dec 20, 2019
Red palm weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier, is a devastating pest of palm trees worldwide. RPW gut is colonized by diverse bacterial species which profoundly influence host development and nutritional metabolism. However, the molecular mechanisms behind the interactions between RPW and its gut microbiota remain mostly unknown. Antibiotics are usually employed to remove gut bacteria to investigate the impact of gut bacteria on insect fitness. However, administration of antibiotics cannot thoroughly remove gut bacteria for most insect species. Therefore, establishing germfree (GF) organisms is a powerful way to reveal the mutual interactions between gut bacteria and their insect hosts. Here, we describe a protocol to generate and maintain RPW GF larvae, being completely devoid of gut bacteria in laboratory. RPW GF larvae were established from the dechorionated fresh eggs which were reared on the sterilized artificial food under axenic conditions. The establishment of GF larvae set a solid foundation to deeply elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind the interactions between RPW and its gut microbiota.
2 Q&A 7488 Views Aug 20, 2018
Diatoms are an ecologically important group of eukaryotic microalgae with properties that make them attractive for biotechnological applications such as biofuels, foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Phaeodactylum tricornutum is a model diatom with defined culture conditions, but routine genetic manipulations are hindered by a lack of simple and robust genetic tools. One obstacle to efficient engineering of P. tricornutum is that the current selection methods for P. tricornutum transformants depend on the use of a limited number of antibiotic resistance genes. An alternative and more cost-effective selection method would be to generate auxotrophic strains of P. tricornutum by knocking out key genes involved in amino acid biosynthesis, and using plasmid-based copies of the biosynthetic genes as selective markers. Previous work on gene knockouts in P. tricornutum used biolistic transformation to deliver CRISPR-Cas9 system into P. tricornutum. Biolistic transformation of non-replicating plasmids can cause undesired damage to P. tricornutum due to random integration of the transformed DNA into the genome. Subsequent curing of edited cells to prevent long-term overexpression of Cas9 is very difficult as there is currently no method to excise integrated plasmids. This protocol adapts a new method to deliver the Cas9 or TevCas9 system into P. tricornutum via conjugation of plasmids from a bacterial donor cell. The process involves: 1) design and insertion of a guideRNA targeting the P. tricornutum urease gene into a TevCas9 expression plasmid that also encodes a conjugative origin of transfer, 2) installation of this plasmid in Escherichia coli containing a plasmid (pTA-Mob) containing the conjugative machinery, 3) transfer of the TevCas9 expression plasmid into P. tricornutum by conjugation, 4) screening of ex-conjugants for urease knockouts using T7 Endonuclease I and phenotypic screening, and 5) curing of the plasmid from edited cells.
0 Q&A 4792 Views Aug 20, 2018
Protein tagging is a powerful method of investigating protein function. However, modifying positive-strand RNA virus proteins in the context of viral infection can be particularly difficult as their compact genomes and multifunctional proteins mean even small changes can inactivate or attenuate the virus. Although targeted approaches to functionally tag viral proteins have been successful, these approaches are time consuming and inefficient. A strategy that has been successfully applied to several RNA viruses is whole-genome transposon insertional mutagenesis. A library of viral genomes, each containing a single randomly placed small insertion, is selected by passaging in cell culture and the insertion sites can be identified using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Here we describe a protocol for transposon mutagenesis of the 16681 strain of dengue virus, serotype 2. Mutant dengue virus libraries containing short randomly placed insertions are passaged through mammalian cells and insertions are mapped by NGS of the viable progeny. The protocol is divided into four stages: transposon mutagenesis of a dengue cDNA clone, viral genome transfection into permissive cells, isolation of viral progeny genomes, and sequencing library preparation.
0 Q&A 8583 Views Aug 20, 2018
Gene editing of large DNA viruses, such as African swine fever virus (ASFV), has traditionally relied on homologous recombination of a donor plasmid consisting of a reporter cassette with surrounding homologous viral DNA. However, this homologous recombination resulting in the desired modified virus is a rare event. We recently reported the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to edit ASFV. The use of CRISPR/Cas9 to modify the African swine fever virus genome resulted in a fast and relatively easy way to introduce genetic changes. To accomplish this goal we first infect primary swine macrophages with a field isolate, ASFV-G, and transfect with the CRISPR/Cas9 donor plasmid along with a plasmid that will express a specific gRNA that targets our gene to be deleted. By inserting a reporter cassette, we are then able to purify our recombinant virus from the parental by limiting dilution and plaque purification. We previously reported comparing the traditional homologous recombination methodology with CRISPR/Cas9, which resulted in over a 4 log increase in recombination.
0 Q&A 11039 Views Apr 20, 2018
Candida albicans is the most prevalent and important human fungal pathogen. The advent of CRISPR as a means of gene editing has greatly facilitated genetic analysis in C. albicans. Here, we describe a detailed step-by-step procedure to construct and analyze C. albicans deletion mutants. This protocol uses plasmids that allow simple ligation of synthetic duplex 23mer guide oligodeoxynucleotides for high copy gRNA expression in C. albicans strains that express codon-optimized Cas9. This protocol allows isolation and characterization of deletion strains within nine days.
1 Q&A 18127 Views Mar 20, 2018
Genome modification in budding yeast has been extremely successful largely due to its highly efficient homology-directed DNA repair machinery. Several methods for modifying the yeast genome have previously been described, many of them involving at least two-steps: insertion of a selectable marker and substitution of that marker for the intended modification. Here, we describe a CRISPR-Cas9 mediated genome editing protocol for modifying any yeast gene of interest (either essential or nonessential) in a single-step transformation without any selectable marker. In this system, the Cas9 nuclease creates a double-stranded break at the locus of choice, which is typically lethal in yeast cells regardless of the essentiality of the targeted locus due to inefficient non-homologous end-joining repair. This lethality results in efficient repair via homologous recombination using a repair template derived from PCR. In cases involving essential genes, the necessity of editing the genomic lesion with a functional allele serves as an additional layer of selection. As a motivating example, we describe the use of this strategy in the replacement of HEM2, an essential yeast gene, with its corresponding human ortholog ALAD.
0 Q&A 8337 Views Mar 20, 2018
The discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 system from Streptococcus pyogenes has allowed the development of genome engineering tools in a variety of organisms. A frequent limitation in CRISPR-Cas9 function is adequate expression levels of sgRNA. This protocol provides a strategy to construct hybrid RNA polymerase III (Pol III) promoters that facilitate high expression of sgRNA and improved CRISPR-Cas9 function. We provide selection criteria of Pol III promoters, efficient promoter construction methods, and a sample screening technique to test the efficiency of the hybrid promoters. A hybrid promoter system developed for Yarrowia lipolytica will serve as a model.
2 Q&A 32537 Views Mar 20, 2018
The Microbial mutagenicity Ames test is a bacterial bioassay accomplished in vitro to evaluate the mutagenicity of various environmental carcinogens and toxins. While Ames test is used to identify the revert mutations which are present in strains, it can also be used to detect the mutagenicity of environmental samples such as drugs, dyes, reagents, cosmetics, waste water, pesticides and other substances which are easily solubilized in a liquid suspension. We present the protocol for conducting Ames test in the laboratory.

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