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Universal plasmids to facilitate gene deletion and gene tagging in filamentous fungi

Qin, Longguang, Li, Ang, Tan, Kaeling, Guo, Shuhui, Chen, Yingying, Wang, Fang, Wong, Koon Ho
Fungal genetics and biology 2019 v.125 pp. 28-35
Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus nidulans, Streptomyces hygroscopicus, auxotrophs, epitopes, fungi, gene deletion, genes, glufosinate resistance, plasmids, polymerase chain reaction, protein tagging, transcription (genetics)
Gene manipulation is an important routine technique and its efficiency is often a rate-limiting step in research. To facilitate gene manipulation in filamentous fungi, we adapted the S. cerevisiae Gene Deletion and Gene Tagging plasmid collections to include additional selectable markers that make the useful resources applicable to other fungi. Three markers for auxotrophic selection in Aspergillus and related species (the riboB, pyroA and pyrG genes of Aspergillus fumigatus) and a dominant selectable marker for glufosinate resistance (the Bar gene from Streptomyces hygroscopicus) were introduced to the collections. A total of fifty-six plasmids were constructed for all combinations between the four new markers and thirteen epitope tags (viz., 3xHA, 13xMYC, 3xFLAG, FLAG, MYC, T7, HIS, Strep, S, HSV, VSV-G, V5 and GFP). The selectable marker and epitope tag cassettes are positioned between two universal sequences in the plasmids, and therefore, can be amplified by PCR using the same pair of primers. With these plasmids, we have also established a simple and efficient procedure for making gene deletion and gene tagging transformation DNA constructs. The procedure, along with the universal flanking sequences, allows quick and easy interchange of selectable marker and epitope cassettes in transformation DNA constructs for different selection and/or tagging. To demonstrate utility and efficiency of the system, we simultaneously performed C-terminal tagging of HapB – a subunit of the highly conserved Aspergillus nidulans CCAAT binding complex that plays important transcriptional regulatory roles – using ten different epitopes in order to identify those neutral to HapB function in vivo. It is expected that the expanded plasmid collections coupled with the simple construction strategy would facilitate gene manipulation in many fungal species.