We re-engineered a classic tool for mutagenesis and gene expression studies in Gram-negative bacteria. Our modified Tn5-based transposon contains multiple features that allow rapid selection for mutants, direct quantification of gene expression and straightforward cloning of the inactivated gene. The promoter-less gfp-km cassette provides selection and reporter assay depending on the activity of the promoter upstream of the transposon insertion site. The cat gene facilitates positive antibiotic selection for mutants, while the narrow R6Kγ replication origin forces transposition in recipient strains lacking the pir gene and enables cloning of the transposon flanked with the disrupted gene from the chromosome. The suicide vector pCKD100, a plasmid that could be delivered into recipient cells through biparental mating or electroporation, harbours the modified transposon. We used the transposon to mutagenize Pectobacterium versatile KD100, Pseudumonas coronafaciens PC27R and Escherichia coli 35150N. The fluorescence intensities of mutants expressing high GFP could be quantified and detected qualitatively. Transformation efficiency from conjugation ranged from 1600 to 1900 CFU per ml. We sequenced the upstream flanking regions, identified the putative truncated genes and demonstrated the restoration of the GFP phenotype through marker exchange. The mini-Tn5 transposon was also utilized to construct mutant a library of P. versatile for forward genetic screens.
Nazareno, E., Acharya, B. and Dumenyo, C. (2021), A mini-Tn5-derived transposon with reportable and selectable markers enables rapid generation and screening of insertional mutants in Gram-negative bacteria. Lett Appl Microbiol, 72: 283-291. https://doi.org/10.1111/lam.13423