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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2002 Nov 1;42(2):251-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2002.tb01015.x.

Recombinogenic engineering of conjugative plasmids with fluorescent marker cassettes.

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Institut für Molekularbiologie, Biochemie und Mikrobiologie, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, A-8010 Graz, Austria.


An efficient approach for the insertion of fluorescent marker genes with sequence specificity into conjugative plasmids in Escherichia coli is described. For this purpose, homologous recombination of linear double-stranded targeting DNA was mediated by the bacteriophage lambda recombination functions using very short regions of homology. Initial manipulation of the IncFII target plasmids R1 and R1drd19 indicated that the linear targeting DNA should be devoid of all extraneous homologies to the target molecule for optimal insertion specificity. Indeed, a simple recombination assay proved that in the presence of additional homologous regions in the targeting DNA, strand exchanges occurred exclusively within the longest regions of homology. A versatile panel of vectors was created to facilitate convenient PCR amplification of targeting DNAs containing various combinations of different antibiotic resistance genes and fluorescent markers. The choice of 5' non-homologous extensions in primer pairs used for amplifying the marker cassettes determines the site specificity of the targeting DNA. This methodology is applicable to the modification of all plasmids that replicate in E. coli and is not restricted by plasmid size.

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