Screening for mutants with phenotypic defects is a straightforward method for identifying genes that function in a given biological process. In this article we describe how to culture free living worms (e.g., Pristionchus pacificus) in the laboratory and show two different mutagenesis methods, EMS and TMP/UV.
Forward genetics is a powerful method to unravel the molecular level of how Toxoplasma egresses from its host cell. Protocols are provided to chemically mutagenize parasites, enrich for mutants with defects in induced egress, and validate the phenotype of cloned mutants.
Fluorescence-microscopy Screening and Next-generation Sequencing: Useful Tools for the Identification of Genes Involved in Organelle Integrity
A fundamental quest in cell biology is to define the mechanisms that underlie the identity of the organelles that make eukaryotic cells. Here we propose a method to identify the genes responsible for the morphological and functional integrity of plant organelles using fluorescence microscopy and next-generation sequencing tools.
A novel directed evolution method specific to the field of thermostability engineering was developed and consequently validated for bacteriolytic enzymes. After only one round of random mutagenesis, an evolved bacteriolytic enzyme, PlyC 29C3, displayed greater than twice the residual activity when compared to the wild-type protein after elevated temperature incubation.
Here we demonstrate a simple protocol to create a random mutant library for a given target sequence. We show how this method, which is performed in vivo in Escherichia coli, can be coupled with functional selections to evolve new enzymatic activities.
The Logic, Experimental Steps, and Potential of Heterologous Natural Product Biosynthesis Featuring the Complex Antibiotic Erythromycin A Produced Through E. coli
The heterologous biosynthesis of erythromycin A through E. coli includes the following experimental steps: 1) genetic transfer; 2) heterologous reconstitution; and 3) product analysis. Each step will be explained in the context of the motivation, potential, and challenges in producing therapeutic natural products using E. coli as a surrogate host.
This protocol describes how resin embedded brain tissue can be prepared and imaged in the three dimensions in the focussed ion beam, scanning electron microscope.
Nano-fEM: Protein Localization Using Photo-activated Localization Microscopy and Electron Microscopy
We describe a method to localize fluorescently tagged proteins in electron micrographs. Fluorescence is first localized using photo-activated localization microscopy on ultrathin sections. These images are then aligned to electron micrographs of the same section.
Mutagenesis and Analysis of Genetic Mutations in the GC-rich KISS1 Receptor Sequence Identified in Humans with Reproductive Disorders
1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 2Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Mutations in the kisspeptin receptor (KISS1R) are associated with reproductive disorders in patients. Here we describe how to introduce mutations of interest in the GC-rich sequence of KISS1R as well as the use of KISS1R constructs to characterize the degradation pathway of the receptor by immunoprecipitation and western blot.
1Department of Biology, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany, 2Proteomics division, AlPlanta, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Germany
Site directed mutagenesis of whole plasmids is a simple way to create slightly different variations of an original plasmid. Here we demonstrate an easy and cost effective way to introduce base substitutions into a plasmid using standard reagents.
Clathrin-mediated endocytosis depends on adaptor proteins that coordinate cargo selection and clathrin coat assembly. Here we describe procedures to study adaptor-clathrin physical interaction and live cell imaging approaches using as a model the yeast endocytic adaptor protein Sla1p.
Transfection and Mutagenesis of Target Genes in Mosquito Cells by Locked Nucleic Acid-modified Oligonucleotides
Oligonucleotides can be used to site specifically substitute a single nucleotide of transfected target genes in both Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles stephensi cells.
We will demonstrate how to study the effect of a single point mutation on the function of an ion channel.
1Department of Obstretrics & Gynaecology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, 2Department of Biochemistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, 3Children's Health Research Institute
Bisulfite mutagenesis is the gold standard for analyzing DNA methylation. Our modified protocol allows for DNA methylation analysis at the single-cell level and was specifically designed for individual oocytes. It can also be used for cleavage-stage embryos.
1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women's Health, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2Department of Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, Center for Genome Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
A method of identifying unknown drivers of carcinogenesis using an unbiased approach is described. The method uses the Sleeping Beauty transposon as a random mutagen directed to specific tissues. Genomic mapping of transposon insertions that drive tumor formation identifies novel oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes
1Département Nociception et Douleur, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 2Departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Columbia University, 3Department of Anesthesiology, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences
Viral vectors allow for targeted gene manipulation. We demonstrate a method for conditional gene expression or ablation in the mouse spinal cord, using stereotaxic injection of a viral vector into the dorsal horn, a prominent site of synaptic contact between primary somatosensory afferents and neurons of the central nervous system.
The present article describes the steps required to isolate and characterize RNA polymerase fidelity variants of RNA viruses and how to use mutation frequency data to confirm fidelity changes in tissue culture.
High-Efficiency Transduction of Liver Cancer Cells by Recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus Serotype 3 Vectors
In this article, we describe the identification of the adeno-associated virus serotype 3 (AAV3) as the most efficient vector for targeting human liver cancer cells.
1Department of Radiation Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 2Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Pittsburgh
The ability to produce transgenes for Caenorhabditis elegans using genomic DNA carried by fosmids is particularly attractive as all of the native regulatory elements are retained. Described is a simple and robust procedure for the production of transgenes via recombineering with the galK selectable marker.
The limiting factor in the use of the adult Drosophila eye to study neurodegeneration and cell biology is the difficult imaging of intracellular processes. We describe the dissection of single ommatidia to generate a bona-fide primary neuronal cell culture, which can be subject to drug treatment and advanced imaging.
A simplified yet accurate method to collect and stain mosquito hemocytes is described. Our method combines the simplicity of perfusion with the accuracy of high injection techniques to isolate clean preparations of hemocytes in Aedes mosquitoes. This method facilitates studies requiring knowledge of the types of hemocytes and their abundance.
An efficient genome-wide single gene mutation method has been established using Streptococcus sanguinis as a model organism. This method has achieved via high throughput recombinant PCRs and transformations.
1Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 3Department of Biomedical Engineering and Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmia Center, Washington University in St. Louis
Ionic current of BK channels is recorded using patch clamp techniques. BK channels are expressed in Xenopus oocytes by injecting messenger RNA. The intracellular solution during patch clamp recordings is controlled by a perfusion system.
1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 2Departments of Microbiology and Medicine, and Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Rescue of influenza A viruses from plasmid DNA is a basic and essential experimental technique that allows influenza researchers to generate recombinant viruses to study multiple aspects in the biology of influenza virus, and to be used as potential vectors or vaccines.
1Banting and Best Department of Medical Research and Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, 2Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, 3Donnelly Sequencing Centre, University of Toronto, 4Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, 5Stanford Genome Technology Center, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford University, 6Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toronto
We have developed comprehensive, unbiased genome-wide screens to understand gene-drug and gene-environment interactions. Methods for screening these mutant collections are presented.
Mapping Bacterial Functional Networks and Pathways in Escherichia Coli using Synthetic Genetic Arrays
1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, 2Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto, 3Department of Biochemistry, Research and Innovation Centre, University of Regina
Systematic, large-scale synthetic genetic (gene-gene or epistasis) interaction screens can be used to explore genetic redundancy and pathway cross-talk. Here, we describe a high-throughput quantitative synthetic genetic array screening technology, termed eSGA that we developed for elucidating epistatic relationships and exploring genetic interaction networks in Escherichia coli.
1UMR CNRS 5557 Ecologie Microbienne, Université Lyon 1, Université de Lyon, 2Département Biosciences, INSA de Lyon, Université de Lyon, 3INSERM U758, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Université de Lyon, 4Laboratoire de Génie Civil et Ingénierie Environnementale, INSA de Lyon, Université de Lyon
The design of a synthetic operon encoding both the secretory apparatus and the structural monomers of curli fibers is described. Overproduction of these amyloids and adherent polymers allows a measurable gain of adherence of the E. coli chassis1. Easy ways to visualize and quantify adherence are explained.
We describe a low cost, high throughput method to screen for fungal endoglucanase activity in E. coli. The method relies on a simple visual readout of substrate degradation, does not require enzyme purification, and is highly scalable. This allows for the rapid screening of large libraries of enzyme variants.
Generation of RNA/DNA Hybrids in Genomic DNA by Transformation using RNA-containing Oligonucleotides
This work shows how to form an RNA/DNA hybrid at the chromosomal level and reveal transfer of genetic information from RNA to genomic DNA in yeast cells.
The C. elegans embryo is a powerful system for studying cell biology and development. We present a protocol for live imaging of C. elegans embryos utilizing DIC optics or fluorescence using readily available epifluorescent microscopes and open-source software.
Visualization of UV-induced Replication Intermediates in E. coli using Two-dimensional Agarose-gel Analysis
We present a procedure by which two-dimensional agarose-gel analysis can be used to identify the structure of replication intermediates that occur following UV irradiation.
Osmotic Avoidance in Caenorhabditis elegans: Synaptic Function of Two Genes, Orthologues of Human NRXN1 and NLGN1, as Candidates for Autism
Neurexins and neuroligins are membrane-neuron adhesion proteins which perform essential roles in synaptic differentiation and transmission. Neuroligin deficient mutants of C. elegans are defective in detecting osmotic strength, but when they also contain a mutation in the gene coding neurexin, they recover the wild type phenotype.
Assessing Two-dimensional Crystallization Trials of Small Membrane Proteins for Structural Biology Studies by Electron Crystallography
Evaluating two-dimensional (2D) crystallization trials for the formation of ordered membrane protein arrays is a highly critical and difficult task in electron crystallography. Here we describe our approach in screening for and identifying 2D crystals of predominantly small membrane proteins in the range of 15 – 90kDa.
We describe a sensitized method to identify postembryonic regulators of protein expression and localization in C. elegans using an RNAi-based genomic screen and an integrated transgene that expresses a functional, fluorescently tagged protein.
Lens development involves interactions with other tissues. Several zebrafish eye mutants are characterized by an abnormally small lens size. Here we demonstrate a lens transplantation experiment to determine whether this phenotype is due to intrinsic causes or defective interactions with tissues that surround the lens.
The urease method of sample preparation for GC/MS analysis of intermediary metabolites is presented by its inventor. The method allows one-step follow-up of newborn screening for inborn errors by tandem mass spectrometry by quantifying carbohydrates, organic and amino acids all in a single process.
Use of Fluorescent Immuno-Chemistry for the detection of Edwardsiella ictaluri in channel catfish (I. punctatus) samples
Here we describe a procedure allowing the labeling of Edwardsiella ictaluri in situ in histological sections from channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus using indirect immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies Ed9 as a primary, and fluorescent FitC labeled antibodies as a secondary. This allowed for the detection of the bacterium using fluorescent microscopy.
A simple method to record extracellular field potentials in the larval zebrafish forebrain is described. The method provides a robust in vivo read-out of seizure-like activity. This technique can be used with genetically modified zebrafish larvae carrying epilepsy-related genes or seizures evoked by administration of convulsant drugs.
Here we demonstrate a protocol to carry out live cell staining that can be used to detect odorant receptors on the surface of HEK293T cells conveniently. In addition, it may also be used to assay for surface expression of other chemosensory receptors or GPCRs.
Multi-photon Imaging of Tumor Cell Invasion in an Orthotopic Mouse Model of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma
1Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Program in Cancer Cell Biology, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, West Virginia University, 2Sensory Neuroscience Research Center, West Virginia University, 3Departments of Otolaryngology and Physiology, Center for Neuroscience, West Virginia University
A comprehensive overview of the techniques involved in generating a mouse model of oral cancer and quantitative monitoring of tumor invasion within the tongue through multi-photon microscopy of labeled cells is presented. This system can serve as a useful platform for the molecular assessment and drug efficacy of anti-invasive compounds.
Mass spectrometry has proven to be a valuable tool for analyzing large protein complexes. This method enables insights into the composition, stoichiometry and overall architecture of multi-subunit assemblies. Here, we describe, step-by-step, how to perform a structural mass spectrometry analysis, and characterize macromolecular structures.
Here we demonstrate the newly developed I•Cryo kit for mouse sperm cryopreservation. Two-cell stage embryo development with frozen-thawed sperm was improved consistently in 5 mouse strains with the use of this kit. Over a 1.5 year period, 49 genetically modified mouse lines were archived by sperm cryopreservation with the I•Cryo kit and later successfully recovered by IVF.
We describe the process of isolating high purity herpesvirus nucleocapsid DNA from infected cells. The final DNA captured from solution is of high concentration and purity, making it ideally suited for high-throughput sequencing, high fidelity PCR reactions, and transfections to produce new viral recombinants.
Ice-Cap: A Method for Growing Arabidopsis and Tomato Plants in 96-well Plates for High-Throughput Genotyping
The Ice-Cap method allows one to grow plants in 96-well plates and non-destructively harvest root tissue from each seedling. DNA extracted from this root tissue can be used for genotyping reactions. We have found that Ice-Cap works well for Arabidopsis thaliana, tomato, and rice seedlings.
RNAi Mediated Gene Knockdown and Transgenesis by Microinjection in the Necromenic Nematode Pristionchus pacificus
In model organisms, transgenesis can manipulate gene functions while RNAi can knockdown specific mRNA transcripts 1-2. This protocol aims to illustrate the techniques needed to introduce stably transmitted DNA and transient double stranded RNA into the necromenic nematode Pristionchus pacificus for studies in evolutionary, developmental, and behavioral biology.
A gene transfer method into the developing mouse brain is described by using a unique surgical method and special shape of electrodes. This unique technique allows transfection of plasmid DNA temporally and spatially, which will aid many neuroscientists in studying brain development.
CRISPR/Cas systems mediate adaptive immunity in Bacteria and Archaea. Many Cas proteins are proposed to act as endoribonucleases acting on crRNA precursors of varying length. Here we illustrate three different approaches to generate pre-crRNA substrates for the biochemical analysis of Cas endonuclease activity.
1Microbiology and Pathogenesis Activity, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2Tick-Borne Diseases Activity, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The collection of infected tick hemolymph, salivary glands, and saliva is important to study how tick-borne pathogens cause disease. In this protocol we demonstrate how to collect hemolymph and salivary glands from feeding Ixodes scapularis nymphs. We also demonstrate saliva collection from female I. scapularis adults.
Gene function can be obscured in loss-of-function experiments if there is compensation by another gene. The zebrafish model provides a relatively high-throughput means to reveal such functional redundancy in living embryos.
The advent of site-specific recombinase (SSR) technology and the Cre/lox system has led to numerous advances in molecular biology, and has proven itself as a valuable tool for assessing gene function in transgenic animals. This interview discusses the mechanism of site specific recombination by Cyclization recombinase (Cre) and how the use of this enzyme has led to the development of conditional mutagenesis, which has significant advantages over traditional knock out strategies.