Chromosomal Gene Inactivation in the Green Sulfur Bacterium Chlorobium tepidum by Natural Transformation

Niels Ulrik Frigaard, Donald A. Bryant

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78 Scopus citations


Conditions for inactivating chromosomal genes of Chlorobium tepidum by natural transformation and homologous recombination were established. As a model, mutants unable to perform nitrogen fixation were constructed by interrupting nifD with various antibiotic resistance markers. Growth of wild-type C. tepidum at 40°C on agar plates could be completely inhibited by 100 μg of gentamicin ml-1, 2 μg of erythromycin ml-1, 30 μg of chloramphenicol ml-1, or 1 μg of tetracycline ml-1 or a combination of 300 μg of streptomycin ml-1 and 150 μg of spectinomycin ml-1. Transformation was performed by spotting cells and DNA on an agar plate for 10 to 20 h. Transformation frequencies on the order of 10-7 were observed with gentamicin and erythromycin markers, and transformation frequencies on the order of 10-3 were observed with a streptomycin-spectinomycin marker. The frequency of spontaneous mutants resistant to gentamicin, erythromycin, or spectinomycin-streptomycin was undetectable or significantly lower than the transformation frequency. Transformation with the gentamicin marker was observed when the transforming DNA contained 1 or 3 kb of total homologous flanking sequence but not when the transforming DNA contained only 0.3 kb of homologous sequence. Linearized plasmids transformed at least an order of magnitude better than circular plasmids. This work forms a foundation for the systematic targeted inactivation of genes in C. tepidum, whose 2.15-Mb genome has recently been completely sequenced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2538-2544
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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