Molecular Biology


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0 Q&A 777 Views Jul 20, 2023

The immune-inhibitory molecule programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) has been shown to play a role in pathologies such as autoimmunity, infections, and cancer. The expression of PD-L1 not only on cancer cells but also on non-transformed host cells is known to be associated with cancer progression. Generation of PD-L1 deficiency in the murine system enables us to specifically study the role of PD-L1 in physiological processes and diseases. One of the most versatile and easy to use site-specific gene editing tools is the CRISPR/Cas9 system, which is based on an RNA-guided nuclease system. Similar to its predecessors, the Zinc finger nucleases or transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), CRISPR/Cas9 catalyzes double-strand DNA breaks, which can result in frameshift mutations due to random nucleotide insertions or deletions via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). Furthermore, although less frequently, CRISPR/Cas9 can lead to insertion of defined sequences due to homology-directed repair (HDR) in the presence of a suitable template. Here, we describe a protocol for the knockout of PD-L1 in the murine C57BL/6 background using CRISPR/Cas9. Targeting of exon 3 coupled with the insertion of a HindIII restriction site leads to a premature stop codon and a loss-of-function phenotype. We describe the targeting strategy as well as founder screening, genotyping, and phenotyping. In comparison to NHEJ-based strategy, the presented approach results in a defined stop codon with comparable efficiency and timelines as NHEJ, generates convenient founder screening and genotyping options, and can be swiftly adapted to other targets.

0 Q&A 820 Views Sep 5, 2022

Geobacillus kaustophilus, a thermophilic Gram-positive bacterium, is an attractive host for the development of high-temperature bioprocesses. However, its reluctance against genetic manipulation by standard methodologies hampers its exploitation. Here, we describe a simple methodology in which an artificial DNA segment on the chromosome of Bacillus subtilis can be transferred via pLS20-mediated conjugation resulting in subsequent integration in the genome of G. kaustophilus. Therefore, we have developed a transformation strategy to design an artificial DNA segment on the chromosome of B. subtilis and introduce it into G. kaustophilus. The artificial DNA segment can be freely designed by taking advantage of the plasticity of the B. subtilis genome and combined with the simplicity of pLS20 conjugation transfer. This transformation strategy would adapt to various Gram-positive bacteria other than G. kaustophilus.

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0 Q&A 3592 Views Jun 20, 2020
The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a novel genetic tool which allows the precise manipulation of virtually any genomic sequence. In this protocol, we use a specific CRISPR/Cas9 system for the manipulation of Ashbya gossypii. The filamentous fungus A. gossypii is currently used for the industrial production of riboflavin (vitamina B2). In addition, A. gossypii produces other high-value compounds such as folic acid, nucleosides and biolipids. A large molecular toolbox is available for the genomic manipulation of this fungus including gene targeting methods, rapid assembly of heterologous expression modules and, recently, a one-vector CRISPR/Cas9 editing system adapted for A. gossypii that allows marker-free engineering strategies to be implemented. The CRISPR/Cas9 system comprises an RNA guided DNA endonuclease (Cas9) and a guide RNA (gRNA), which is complementary to the genomic target region. The Cas9 nuclease requires a 5′-NGG-3′ trinucleotide, called protospacer adjacent motif (PAM), to generate a double-strand break (DSB) in the genomic target, which can be repaired with a synthetic mutagenic donor DNA (dDNA) by homologous recombination (HR), thus introducing a specific designed mutation. The CRISPR/Cas9 system adapted for A. gossypii largely facilitates the genomic edition of this industrial fungus.
0 Q&A 3727 Views Apr 5, 2020
A viral vector that can safely and efficiently deliver large and diverse molecular cargos into cells is the holy grail of curing many human diseases. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has been extensively used but has a very small capacity. The prokaryotic virus T4 has a large capacity but lacks natural mechanisms to enter mammalian cells. Here, we created a hybrid vector by combining T4 and AAV into one nanoparticle that possesses the advantages of both. The small 25 nm AAV particles are attached to the large 120 nm x 86 nm T4 head through avidin-biotin cross-bridges using the phage decoration proteins Soc (small outer capsid protein) and Hoc (highly antigenic outer capsid protein). AAV thus “piggy-backed” on T4 capsid, by virtue of its natural ability to enter many types of human cells efficiently acts as a “driver” to deliver large cargos associated with the T4 head. This unique T4-AAV hybrid vector approach could pave the way for the development of novel therapeutics in the future.
0 Q&A 6590 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.
0 Q&A 3994 Views Dec 20, 2018
Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite belonging to the Trypanosomatidae family. Although the trypanosomatids multiply predominantly by clonal generation, the presence of DNA exchange in some of them has been puzzling researchers over the years, mainly because it may represent a novel form that these organisms use to gain variability. Analysis of DNA Exchange using Thymidine Analogs (ADExTA) is a method that allows the in vitro detection and measurement of rates of DNA exchange, particularly in trypanosomatid cells, in a rapid and simple manner by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). The method can be used to detect DNA exchange within one trypanosomatid lineage or among different lineages by paired analysis. The principle of this assay is based on the incorporation of two distinguishable halogenated thymidine analogs called 5′-chloro-2′-deoxyuridine (CldU) and 5′-iodo-2′-deoxyuridine (IdU) during DNA replication. After mixing the two cell cultures that had been previously incorporated with CldU and IdU separately, the presence of these unusual deoxynucleosides in the genome can be detected by specific antibodies. For this, a DNA denaturation step is required to expose the sites of thymidine analogs incorporated. Subsequently, a secondary reaction using fluorochrome-labeled antibodies will generate distinct signals under fluorescence analysis. By using this method, DNA exchange verification (i.e., the presence of both CldU and IdU in the same cell) is possible using a standard fluorescence microscope. It typically takes 2-3 days from the thymidine analogs incorporation to results. Of note, ADExTA is relatively cheap and does not require transfections or harsh genetic manipulation. These features represent an advantage when compared to other time-consuming protocols that demand DNA manipulation to introduce distinct drug-resistance markers in different cells for posterior selection.
0 Q&A 21400 Views Apr 5, 2017
The programmable Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)-associated nuclease 9 (Cas9) technology revolutionized genome editing by providing an efficient way to cut the genome at a desired location (Ledford, 2015). In mammalian cells, DNA lesions trigger the error-prone non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA repair mechanism. However, in presence of a DNA repair template, Homology-Directed Repair (HDR) can occur leading to precise repair of the lesion site. This last process can be exploited to enable precise knock-in changes by introducing the desired genomic alteration on the repair template. In this protocol we describe the delivery of long repair templates (> 200 nucleotides) using recombinant Adeno Associated Virus (rAAV) for CRISPR-Cas9-based knock-in of a C-terminal tag sequence in a human cell line.
0 Q&A 9660 Views Dec 20, 2016
Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based targeting vectors have 1-4-log higher gene targeting efficiencies compared with plasmid-based targeting vectors. The efficiency of AAV-mediated gene targeting is further increased by introducing a promoter-trap system into targeting vectors. In addition, we found that the use of ribosome-skipping 2A peptide rather than commonly used internal ribosome entry site (IRES) in the promoter-trap system results in significantly higher AAV-mediated gene targeting efficiencies (Karnan et al., 2016). In this protocol, we describe the procedures for AAV-mediated gene targeting exploiting 2A for promoter trapping, including the construction of a targeting vector based on the platform plasmid pAAV-2Aneo or pAAV-2Aneo v2, production of AAV particles, infection of cells with resulting AAV-based targeting vectors, and isolation and verification of gene-targeted cell clones.
0 Q&A 8407 Views Dec 20, 2016
The ability to utilize different selectable markers for tagging or mutating multiple genes in Schizosaccharomyces pombe is hampered by the historical use of only two selectable markers, ura4+ and kanMX6; the latter conferring resistance to the antibiotic G418 (geneticin). More markers have been described recently, but introducing these into yeast cells often requires strain construction from scratch. To overcome this problem we and other groups have created transformation cassettes with flanking homologies to ura4+ and kanMX6 which enable an efficient and time-saving way to exchange markers in existing mutated or tagged fission yeast strains.

Here, we present a protocol for single-step marker switching by lithium acetate transformation in fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In the following we describe how to swap the ura4+ marker to a kanMX6, natMX4, or hphMX4 marker, which provide resistance against the antibiotics G418, nourseothricin (clonNAT) or hygromycin B, respectively. We also detail how to exchange any of the MX markers for nutritional markers, such as arg3+, his3+, leu1+ and ura4+.
0 Q&A 29354 Views May 5, 2015
The FLP/FRT system is a site-directed recombination technology based on the targeting of a recombination enzyme (flipase - FLP) to specific DNA regions designated as flipase recognition target (FRT) sites. Initially identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast FLP-enzyme and its FRT recombination targets were successfully transferred into each major chromosome arm in Drosophila (Golic and Lindquist, 1989). This offers the ability to mediate mitotic recombination in vivo during development in a controlled manner [revised in Theodosiou and Xu (1998)]. The controlled induction of the mitotic recombination events is usually performed by expressing the FLP under the control of the heat-shock (hs) promoter. This allows the expression of high FLP levels at specific developmental time windows. Strains carrying these genetically marked FLP/FRT chromosomes have greatly enhanced our ability to study gene function in both germline and somatic Drosophila tissues. Here we describe two different protocols: One to induce and identify homozygous mutant clones in ovaries and the other to generate female germline mutants for the analysis of maternal effects on embryogenesis.

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