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J Microbiol Methods. 2011 Sep;86(3):313-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2011.06.006. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

An optimized method for suicide vector-based allelic exchange in Klebsiella pneumoniae.

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Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Maurice Shock Medical Sciences Building, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 9HN, United Kingdom.


Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important and versatile bacterium that can be found in diverse environments and is also a frequent cause of human infections. Limited data exists on the mechanisms of interaction between K. pneumoniae and the human host and of adaptations to other environments. Coupled with the high genetic diversity of this species, these factors highlight the necessity for substantial further K. pneumoniae-focused molecular genetics studies. In this report we describe a simple and efficient experimental protocol for suicide vector-based allelic exchange in K. pneumoniae. The protocol has been validated by mutating multiple loci in four distinct K. pneumoniae strains, including highly capsulated and/or multi-antibiotic resistant clinical isolates. Three key enhancements are reported:(1) Use of pDS132-derived conjugative plasmids carrying improved cloning sites, (2) Performance of sacB counterselection at 25°C as opposed to higher temperatures, and (3) Exploitation of Flp-recombinase-mediated deletion of FRT (Flp recombinase target) flanked resistance cassettes to allow for reiterative manipulations with a single selectable marker. This study also highlights a problem that may be encountered when the aacC1 gentamicin resistance marker is used in K. pneumoniae and suggests alternative markers. The protocol developed in this study will help investigate the plethora of uncharacterized genes present in the K. pneumoniae pan-genome and shed further light upon clinically and industrially important phenotypes observed in this ubiquitous species.

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