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Mutagenesis and gene identification in Dictyostelium by shotgun antisense

Spann, T.P., Brock, D.A., Lindsey, D.F., Wood, S.A., Gomer, R.H.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1996 v.93 no.10 pp. 5003-5007
Dictyostelium, mutagenesis, antisense DNA, complementary DNA, genetic transformation, genes, DNA libraries, mutants, cell differentiation, plasmid vectors, Dictyostelium discoideum
We have developed a mutagenesis technique that uses antisense cDNA to identify genes required for development in Dictyostelium discoideum. We transformed Dictyostelium cells with a cDNA library made from the mRNA of vegetative and developing cells. The cDNA was cloned in an antisense orientation immediately downstream of a vegetative promoter, so that in transformed cells the promoter will drive the synthesis of an antisense RNA transcript. We find that individual transformants typically contain one or occasionally two antisense cDNAs. Using this mutagenesis technique, we have generated mutants that fail to aggregate, aggregate but fail to form fruiting bodies, or aggregate but form abnormal fruiting bodies. The individual cDNA molecules from the mutants were identified and cloned using PCR. Initial sequence analysis of the PCR products from 35 mutants has identified six novel Dictyostelium genes, each from a transformant with one antisense cDNA. When the PCR-isolated antisense cDNAs were ligated into the antisense vector and the resulting constructs transformed into cells, the phenotypes of the transformed cells matched those of the original mutants from which each cDNA was obtained. We made homologous recombinant gene disruption transformants for three of the novel genes, in each case generating mutants with phenotypes indistinguishable from those of the original antisense transformants. Shotgun antisense thus is a rapid way to identify genes in Dictyostelium and possibly other organisms.