Engineering hybrid genes without the use of restriction enzymes: gene splicing by overlap extension.
Gene splicing by overlap extension is a new approach for recombining DNA molecules at precise junctions irrespective of nucleotide sequences at the recombination site and without the use of restriction endonucleases or ligase. Fragments from the genes that are to be recombined are generated in separate polymerase chain reactions (PCRs).
The primers are designed so that the ends of the products contain complementary sequences. When these PCR products are mixed, denatured, and reannealed, the strands having the matching sequences at their 3′ ends overlap and act as primers for each other. Extension of this overlap by DNA polymerase produces a molecule in which the original sequences are ‘spliced’ together. This technique is used to construct a gene encoding a mosaic fusion protein comprised of parts of two different class-I major histocompatibility genes. This simple and widely applicable approach has significant advantages over standard recombinant DNA techniques.
Genome-wide identification and testing of superior reference genes for transcript normalization in Arabidopsis.
Gene transcripts with invariant abundance during development and in the face of environmental stimuli are essential reference points for accurate gene expression analyses, such as RNA gel-blot analysis or quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). An exceptionally large set of data from Affymetrix ATH1 whole-genome GeneChip studies provided the means to identify a new generation of reference genes with very stable expression levels in the model plant species Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Hundreds of Arabidopsis genes were found that outperform traditional reference genes in terms of expression stability throughout development and under a range of environmental conditions.
Most of these were expressed at much lower levels than traditional reference genes, making them very suitable for normalization of gene expression over a wide range of transcript levels. Specific and efficient primers were developed for 22 genes and tested on a diverse set of 20 cDNA samples. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR confirmed superior expression stability and lower absolute expression levels for many of these genes, including genes encoding a protein phosphatase 2A subunit, a coatomer subunit, and an ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme. The developed PCR primers or hybridization probes for the novel reference genes will enable better normalization and quantification of transcript levels in Arabidopsis in the future.
ITS primers with enhanced specificity for basidiomycetes–application to the identification of mycorrhizae and rusts.
We have designed two taxon-selective primers for the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region in the nuclear ribosomal repeat unit. These primers, ITS1-F and ITS4-B, were intended to be specific to fungi and basidiomycetes, respectively. We have tested the specificity of these primers against 13 species of ascomycetes, 14 of basidiomycetes, and 15 of plants. Our results showed that ITS4-B, when paired with either a ‘universal’ primer ITS1 or the fungal-specific primer ITS1-F, efficiently amplified DNA from all basidiomycetes and discriminated against ascomycete DNAs.
The results with plants were not as clearcut. The ITS1-F/ITS4-B primer pair produced a small amount of PCR product for certain plant species, but the quantity was in most cases less than that produced by the ‘universal’ ITS primers. However, under conditions where both plant and fungal DNAs were present, the fungal DNA was amplified to the apparent exclusion of plant DNA. ITS1-F/ITS4-B preferential amplification was shown to be particularly useful for detection and analysis of the basidiomycete component in ectomycorrhizae and in rust-infected tissues. These primers can be used to study the structure of ectomycorrhizal communities or the distribution of rusts on alternate hosts.
Heterologous modules for efficient and versatile PCR-based gene targeting in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
We describe a straightforward PCR-based approach to the deletion, tagging, and overexpression of genes in their normal chromosomal locations in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Using this approach and the S. pombe ura4+ gene as a marker, nine genes were deleted with efficiencies of homologous integration ranging from 6 to 63%. We also constructed a series of plasmids containing the kanMX6 module, which allows selection of G418-resistant cells and thus provides a new heterologous marker for use in S. pombe. The modular nature of these constructs allows a small number of PCR primers to be used for a wide variety of gene manipulations, including deletion, overexpression (using the regulatable nmt1 promoter), C- or N-terminal protein tagging (with HA, Myc, GST, or GFP), and partial C- or N-terminal deletions with or without tagging.
Nine genes were manipulated using these kanMX6 constructs as templates for PCR. The PCR primers included 60 to 80 bp of flanking sequences homologous to target sequences in the genome. Transformants were screened for homologous integration by PCR. In most cases, the efficiency of homologous integration was>> or = 50%, and the lowest efficiency encountered was 17%. The methodology and constructs described here should greatly facilitate analysis of gene function in S. pombe.