Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 7172 Views Nov 20, 2017
The advent of single cell genomics and the continued use of metagenomic profiling in diverse environments has exponentially increased the known diversity of life. The recovered and assembled genomes predict physiology, consortium interactions and gene function, but experimental validation of metabolisms and molecular pathways requires more directed approaches. Gene function–and the correlation between phenotype and genotype is most obviously studied with genetics, and it is therefore critical to develop techniques permitting rapid and facile strain construction. Many new and candidate archaeal lineages have recently been discovered, but experimental, genetic access to archaeal genomes is currently limited to a few model organisms. The results obtained from manipulating the genomes of these genetically-accessible organisms have already had profound effects on our understanding of archaeal physiology and information processing systems, and these continued studies also help resolve phylogenetic reconstruction of the tree of life. The hyperthermophilic, planktonic, marine heterotrophic archaeon Thermococcus kodakarensis, has emerged as an ideal genetic system with a suite of techniques available to add or delete encoded activities, or modify expression of genes in vivo. We outline here techniques to rapidly and markerlessly delete a single, or repetitively delete several, continuous sequences from the T. kodakarensis genome. Our procedure includes details on the construction of the plasmid DNA necessary for transformation that directs, via homologous recombination, integration into the genome, identification of strains that have incorporated plasmid sequences (termed intermediate strains), and confirmation of plasmid excision, leading to deletion of the target gene in final strains. Near identical procedures can be employed to modify, rather than delete, a genomic locus.
0 Q&A 10938 Views Sep 20, 2017
Genome manipulation has become more accessible given the advent of the CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) editing technology. The Cas9 endonuclease binds a single stranded (single guide) RNA (sgRNA) fragment that recruits the complex to a corresponding genomic target sequence where it induces a double stranded break. Eukaryotic repair systems allow for the introduction of exogenous DNA, repair of existing mutations, or deletion of endogenous gene products. Targeting of Cas9 to multiple genomic positions (termed ‘multiplexing’) is achieved by the expression of multiple sgRNAs within the same nucleus. However, an ongoing concern of the CRISPR field has been the accidental targeting of Cas9 to alternative (‘off-target’) DNA locations within a genome. We describe the use (dubbed Multiplexing of Cas9 at Artificial Loci) of installed artificial Cas9 target sequences into the yeast genome that allow for (i) multiplexing with a single sgRNA; (ii) a reduction/elimination in possible off-target effects, and (iii) precise control of the placement of the intended target sequence(s).
0 Q&A 10180 Views Aug 5, 2017
We present a CRISPR-Cas based technique for deleting genes from the T7 bacteriophage genome. A DNA fragment encoding homologous arms to the target gene to be deleted is first cloned into a plasmid. The T7 phage is then propagated in Escherichia coli harboring this plasmid. During this propagation, some phage genomes undergo homologous recombination with the plasmid, thus deleting the targeted gene. To select for these genomes, the CRISPR-Cas system is used to cleave non-edited genomes, enabling isolation of the desired recombinant phages. This protocol allows seamless deletion of desired genes in a T7 phage, and can be expanded to other phages and other types of genetic manipulations as well.
0 Q&A 12248 Views Jul 20, 2017
CRISPR/Cas9 (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR-associated protein 9) systems have emerged as a powerful tool for genome editing in many organisms. The wide use of CRISPR/Cas9 systems may be due to the fact that these systems contain a simple guide RNA (sgRNA) that is relatively easy to design and they are very versatile with the ability to simultaneously target multiple genes within a cell (Varshney et al., 2015). We have developed a CRISPR/Cas9 system to delete large genomic fragments (exceeding 30 kb) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. One application of this technology is to study the effects of large-scale deletions of non-essential genes which may give insight into the function of gene clusters within chromosomes at the molecular level. In this protocol, we describe the general procedures for large fragment deletion in S. cerevisiae using CRISPR/Cas9 including: how to design CRISPR arrays and how to construct Cas9-crRNA expression plasmids as well as how to detect mutations introduced by the system within S. cerevisiae cells.
4 Q&A 18808 Views Apr 20, 2017
A fundamental procedure for most modern biologists is the genetic manipulation of the organism under study. Although many different methods for editing bacterial genomes have been used in laboratories for decades, the adaptation of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to bacterial genetics has allowed researchers to manipulate bacterial genomes with unparalleled facility. CRISPR/Cas9 has allowed for genome edits to be more precise, while also increasing the efficiency of transferring mutations into a variety of genetic backgrounds. As a result, the advantages are realized in tractable organisms and organisms that have been refractory to genetic manipulation. Here, we describe our method for editing the genome of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Our method is highly efficient, resulting in precise, markerless mutations. Further, after generating the editing plasmid, the mutation can be quickly introduced into several genetic backgrounds, greatly increasing the speed with which genetic analyses may be performed.
0 Q&A 7520 Views Jul 5, 2016
Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic organisms that perform oxygenic photosynthesis. Freshwater cyanobacteria, such as Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 and Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, are model organisms for the study of photosynthesis, gene regulation, and biotechnological applications because they are easy to manipulate genetically. However, while studying these cyanobacteria, care has to be taken with respect to genetic heterogeneity in the establishment of gene disruptants, because these cyanobacteria contain multiple chromosomal copies per cell. Here, we describe a method for the estimation of chromosomal copy number in Synechococcus 7942. Using this method, we have recently observed that the chromosomal copy number of Synechococcus 7942 significantly changes during its growth phases. This technique is available for studying polyploidy not only in cyanobacteria, but also in other polyploid organisms.
0 Q&A 9197 Views Jun 5, 2016
Digestion of chromatin by micrococcal nuclease MNase followed by high throughput sequencing allows us to determine the location and occupancy of nucleosomes on the genome. Here in this protocol we have described optimized conditions of MNase digestion of filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa chromatin without a requirement of a nuclear fractionation step.
1 Q&A 11660 Views Oct 20, 2014
There are several methods to measure the capacity of yeast cell to respond to environmental impacts on their genome by mutating it. One frequently used method involves the detection of forward mutations in the CAN1 gene. The CAN1 gene encodes for an arginine permease that is responsible for the uptake of arginine and it can also transport the toxic analog of arginine, canavanine (Whelan et al., 1979). When CAN1 cells are grown on a media containing canavanine but lacking arginine, the cells die because of the uptake of the toxic canavanine. However, if a mutation in the CAN1 gene inactivates the permease, that cell survives and forms a colony on the plate.

The following protocol describes the measurement of UV-induced mutagenesis at the CAN1 locus.
0 Q&A 11339 Views Jul 20, 2014
The protein recruitment onto chromatin is a critical process for DNA metabolism, including DNA replication, DNA repair and DNA recombination. Especially DNA modification enzymes and checkpoint proteins are loaded onto DNA damage sites in a context-dependent manner. In our recent study (Kunoh and Habu, 2014), the chromatin association of Pcf1, a large subunit of Chromatin Assembly Factor-1 (CAF-1), was monitored after exposure of cells to hydroxyurea which slowed down the DNA replication. Results of the chromatin fractionation assay provided evidence that Pcf1 was recruited to chromatin upon DNA replication stress. A similar procedure enabled to reveal the chromatin association of Orp1, Mcm proteins, and Swi6 (Sadaie et al., 2008; Ogawa et al., 1999). This assay allows us to fractionate chromatin-bound and -unbound proteins from living cells. The following immunoblot of the respective fractions provides the information concerning the chromatin binding status of our target proteins.
0 Q&A 10146 Views Feb 20, 2013
The gene transfer agent (GTA) is a bacteriophage-like particle that transfers genomic DNA from a donor to a recipient bacterium. The Rhodobacter capsulatus GTA (RcGTA) was the first to be studied and this protocol has been optimized for RcGTA transduction, although it could be modified for other bacteria containing a GTA. The RcGTA transduction assay can be used to determine transduction efficiencies, to create gene knock-outs, or to create new strains by transferring alleles from one strain to another.

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