Applied and environmental microbiology

High-efficiency scarless genetic modification in Escherichia coli by using lambda red recombination and I-SceI cleavage.

PMID 24747889


Genetic modifications of bacterial chromosomes are important for both fundamental and applied research. In this study, we developed an efficient, easy-to-use system for genetic modification of the Escherichia coli chromosome, a two-plasmid method involving lambda Red (λ-Red) recombination and I-SceI cleavage. An intermediate strain is generated by integration of a resistance marker gene(s) and I-SceI recognition sites in or near the target gene locus, using λ-Red PCR targeting. The intermediate strain is transformed with a donor plasmid carrying the target gene fragment with the desired modification flanked by I-SceI recognition sites, together with a bifunctional helper plasmid for λ-Red recombination and I-SceI endonuclease. I-SceI cleavage of the chromosome and the donor plasmid allows λ-Red recombination between chromosomal breaks and linear double-stranded DNA from the donor plasmid. Genetic modifications are introduced into the chromosome, and the placement of the I-SceI sites determines the nature of the recombination and the modification. This method was successfully used for cadA knockout, gdhA knock-in, seamless deletion of pepD, site-directed mutagenesis of the essential metK gene, and replacement of metK with the Rickettsia S-adenosylmethionine transporter gene. This effective method can be used with both essential and nonessential gene modifications and will benefit basic and applied genetic research.