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Electroporation of Mycobacteria

doi: 10.3791/761 Published: May 23, 2008


Mycobacterial pathogenic strategies remain poorly understood. The slow growth rate of most species, the impenetrable nature of the cell-wall, and the hazards of working with pathogens make mycobacteria difficult to study and are largely responsible for our poor understanding of these organisms. In this video we will demonstrate the technique of electroporation, which involves subjecting cells to a brief high electrical impulse to allow the entry of DNA. It is the most widely used method for introducing DNA into mycobacterial cells.


High efficiency transformation is a major limitation in the study of mycobacteria. The genus Mycobacterium can be difficult to transform; this is mainly caused by the thick and waxy cell wall, but is compounded by the fact that most molecular techniques have been developed for distantly-related species such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. In spite of these obstacles, mycobacterial plasmids have been identified and DNA transformation of many mycobacterial species have now been described. The most successful method for introducing DNA into mycobacteria is electroporation. Many parameters contribute to successful transformation; these include the species/strain, the nature of the transforming DNA, the selectable marker used, the growth medium, and the conditions for the electroporation pulse. Optimized methods for the transformation of both slow- and fast-grower are detailed here. Transformation efficiencies for different mycobacterial species and with various selectable markers are reported.


The authors have nothing to disclose.

Electroporation of Mycobacteria
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Cite this Article

Goude, R., Parish, T. Electroporation of Mycobacteria. J. Vis. Exp. (15), e761, doi:10.3791/761 (2008).More

Goude, R., Parish, T. Electroporation of Mycobacteria. J. Vis. Exp. (15), e761, doi:10.3791/761 (2008).

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