Techniques for Large-Scale Bacterial Genome Manipulation and Characterization of the Mutants with Respect to In Silico Metabolic Reconstructions
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The rate at which all genes within a bacterial genome can be identified far exceeds the ability to characterize these genes. To assist in associating genes with cellular functions, a large-scale bacterial genome deletion approach can be employed to rapidly screen tens to thousands of genes for desired phenotypes. Here, we provide a detailed protocol for the generation of deletions of large segments of bacterial genomes that relies on the activity of a site-specific recombinase. In this procedure, two recombinase recognition target sequences are introduced into known positions of a bacterial genome through single cross-over plasmid integration. Subsequent expression of the site-specific recombinase mediates recombination between the two target sequences, resulting in the excision of the intervening region and its loss from the genome. We further illustrate how this deletion system can be readily adapted to function as a large-scale in vivo cloning procedure, in which the region excised from the genome is captured as a replicative plasmid. We next provide a procedure for the metabolic analysis of bacterial large-scale genome deletion mutants using the Biolog Phenotype MicroArray™ system. Finally, a pipeline is described, and a sample Matlab script is provided, for the integration of the obtained data with a draft metabolic reconstruction for the refinement of the reactions and gene-protein-reaction relationships in a metabolic reconstruction.
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