Environ. Biosafety Res.
Volume 6, Number 1-2, January-June 2007Thematic Issue on Horizontal Gene Transfer
|Page(s)||55 - 69|
|Published online||12 September 2007|
Influence of flanking homology and insert size on the transformation frequency of Acinetobacter baylyi BD413
Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Main Building,
Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3TL, UK
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
RecA-mediated recombination requires regions of homology between donor and recipient DNA for successful integration. This paper investigates the effect of the relationship between the length of gene-sized inserts (434, 733, 2228 and 2400 bp) and flanking sequence homology (100 – ca. 11 000 bp) on transformation frequency in Acinetobacter baylyi strain BD413. Both insert size and size of the homologous region were varied, which improves on previous studies that kept insert size constant and varied only the homologous flank size. Transfer frequency of a non-homologous single small gene for gentamicin resistance (aac(3)I; 773 bp) was increased 18-fold when flanking homology was changed from about 2000 bp to 8000 bp, but was reduced 234-fold when two genes were inserted (nptII-gfp; 2400 bp) between similar homologous regions. To investigate the effect of smaller regions of flanking homology (100 – 2000 bp), a partial nptII-gfp deletion (434 bp) was restored. This confirmed that a minimum of 500 bp on each flank was required for transformation to be affected by flanking homology. The data obtained allowed development of a multiple regression equation to predict transformation frequency from homology, insert size and total fragment size for gene insertions. We also show that the ratio of flanking homology to insert size and not the total size of donor DNA is the most important variable determining transformation frequency. The equation developed was consistent with results previously reported by others, and so will be useful when using A. baylyi as a model for gene transfer by transformation in the laboratory, environment and for biosafety.
Key words: Acinetobacter baylyi BD413 / natural transformation / predicting transfer frequency / gene transfer
© ISBR, EDP Sciences, 2007