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Nucleic Acids Res. 2002 Jul 15;30(14):3152-62.

Identification of 113 conserved essential genes using a high-throughput gene disruption system in Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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Department of Microbiology, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Wallingford, CT 06492, USA.


The recent availability of bacterial genome sequence information permits the identification of conserved genes that are potential targets for novel antibiotic drug discovery. Using a coupled bioinformatic/experimental approach, a list of candidate conserved genes was generated using a Microbial Concordance bioinformatics tool followed by a targeted disruption campaign. Pneumococcal sequence data allowed for the design of precise PCR primers to clone the desired gene target fragments into the pEVP3 'suicide vector'. An insertion-duplication approach was employed that used the pEVP3 constructs and resulted in the introduction of a selectable chloramphenicol resistance marker into the chromosome. In the case of non-essential genes, cells can survive the disruption and form chloramphenicol-resistant colonies. A total of 347 candidate reading frames were subjected to disruption analysis, with 113 presumed to be essential due to lack of recovery of antibiotic-resistant colonies. In addition to essentiality determination, the same high-throughput methodology was used to overexpress gene products and to examine possible polarity effects for all essential genes.

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