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Fungal Genet Biol. 2008 Apr;45(4):379-88. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2007.11.001. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

DelsGate, a robust and rapid gene deletion construction method.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7274, USA.


With the increasing availability of fungal genome sequences there is great demand for fast, simple high-throughput methods to generate constructs for gene deletion. Here we describe a method that combines PCR and Gateway cloning technology together with use of the I-SceI homing endonuclease to generate precise deletion constructs in a very simple, universal and robust manner in just 2 days. These constructs are then used to produce deletion mutants in the organism of interest following applicable methods for that species. In establishing this protocol we determined empirically that 1 kb was a suitable flank length to facilitate homologous recombination in our species of interest, Ustilago maydis. The method, which we have named DelsGate (Deletions via Gateway), consists of standard PCR of only the 5' and 3' 1 kb gene flanks directly followed by in vitro Gateway cloning and final generation of the circular deletion construct by in vivo recombination in Escherichia coli. For use in DelsGate we have modified a Gateway cloning vector to include selectable markers for transformation of Ascomycetes and the Basidiomycete fungus U. maydis which causes corn smut disease. We have tested the reproducibility of the DelsGate approach by generating deletion constructs for 12 U. maydis genes. Although not tested here, the PCR and transformation steps of DelsGate should be well suited for high-throughput approaches to gene deletion construction in fungal species. DelsGate has the potential to be universal for all organisms with efficient transformation and homologous recombination systems.

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