Send to

Choose Destination
Biopolymers. 2010 Sep;93(9):833-44. doi: 10.1002/bip.21450.

Cloning large natural product gene clusters from the environment: piecing environmental DNA gene clusters back together with TAR.

Author information

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.


A single gram of soil can contain thousands of unique bacterial species, of which only a small fraction is regularly cultured in the laboratory. Although the fermentation of cultured microorganisms has provided access to numerous bioactive secondary metabolites, with these same methods it is not possible to characterize the natural products encoded by the uncultured majority. The heterologous expression of biosynthetic gene clusters cloned from DNA extracted directly from environmental samples (eDNA) has the potential to provide access to the chemical diversity encoded in the genomes of uncultured bacteria. One of the challenges facing this approach has been that many natural product biosynthetic gene clusters are too large to be readily captured on a single fragment of cloned eDNA. The reassembly of large eDNA-derived natural product gene clusters from collections of smaller overlapping clones represents one potential solution to this problem. Unfortunately, traditional methods for the assembly of large DNA sequences from multiple overlapping clones can be technically challenging. Here we present a general experimental framework that permits the recovery of large natural product biosynthetic gene clusters on overlapping soil-derived eDNA cosmid clones and the reassembly of these large gene clusters using transformation-associated recombination (TAR) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The development of practical methods for the rapid assembly of biosynthetic gene clusters from collections of overlapping eDNA clones is an important step toward being able to functionally study larger natural product gene clusters from uncultured bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center