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Anal Biochem. 2010 Nov 15;406(2):141-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2010.07.011. Epub 2010 Jul 18.

Phosphorothioate-based ligase-independent gene cloning (PLICing): An enzyme-free and sequence-independent cloning method.

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School of Engineering and Science, Jacobs University Bremen, 28579 D-Bremen, Germany.


Many ligase-independent cloning methods have been developed to overcome problems of standard restriction cloning such as low transformation efficiency and high background of vector with no insert. Most of these methods are still enzyme based, require time-consuming incubation and multiple purification steps, and/or might have a low robustness in handling. Thus, with the aim to establish a robust enzyme/ligase-free method, we developed the phosphorothioate-based ligase-independent gene cloning (PLICing) method, which is based on a chemical cleavage reaction of phosphorothioate bonds in an iodine/ethanol solution. After optimization of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA cleavage conditions, PLICing performs competitively with all commercialized methods in terms of handling and transformation efficiency. In addition, PLICing is absolutely sequence independent and surpasses other concepts regarding cloning efficiency given that none of the 240 analyzed clones showed any religation event for three different model genes. A developed fast PLICing protocol does not require any purification step and can be completed within 10 min. Due to its robustness, reliability, and simplicity, PLICing should prove to be a true alternative to other well-established cloning techniques.

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