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J Bacteriol. 1995 Dec;177(24):7011-8.

A system to generate chromosomal mutations in Lactococcus lactis which allows fast analysis of targeted genes.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Haren, The Netherlands.


A system for generating chromosomal insertions in lactococci is described. It is based on the conditional replication of lactococcal pWV01-derived Ori+ RepA- vector pORI19, containing lacZ alpha and the multiple cloning site of pUC19. Chromosomal AluI fragments of Lactococcus lactis were cloned in pORI19 in RepA+ helper strain Escherichia coli EC101. The frequency of Campbell-type recombinants, following introduction of this plasmid bank into L. lactis (RepA-), was increased by combining the system with temperature-sensitive pWV01 derivative pVE6007. Transformation of L. lactis MG1363 (pVE6007) with the pORI19 bank of lactococcal chromosomal fragments at the permissive temperature allowed replication of several copies of a recombinant plasmid from the bank within a cell because of the provision in trans of RepA-Ts from pVE6007. A temperature shift to 37 degrees C resulted in loss of pVE6007 and integration of the pORI19 derivatives at high frequencies. A bank of lactococcal mutants was made in this way and successfully screened for the presence of two mutations: one in the monocistronic 1.3-kb peptidoglycan hydrolase gene (acmA) and one in the hitherto uncharacterized maltose fermentation pathway. Reintroduction of pVE6007 into the Mal- mutant at 30 degrees C resulted in excision of the integrated plasmid and restoration of the ability of ferment maltose. The integration plasmid (pMAL) was rescued by using the isolated plasmid content of a restored Mal+ colony to transform E. coli EC101. Nucleotide sequencing of the 564-bp chromosomal fragment in pMAL revealed an internal part of an open reading frame of which the translated product showed significant homology with ATP-binding proteins MalK of E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Enterobacter aerogenes and MsmK of Streptococcus mutans. This combined use of two types of conditional replicating pWV01-derived vectors represents a novel, powerful tool for chromosomal gene inactivation, targeting, cloning, and sequencing of the labelled gene.

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