Mycobacterial Recombineering

  • Julia C. van Kessel
  • Graham F. Hatfull
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 435)


Although substantial advances have been made in mycobacterial genetics over the past 15 yr, manipulation of mycobacterial genomes and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in particular, continues to be hindered by problems of relatively poor DNA uptake, slow growth rate, and high levels of illegitimate recombination. In Escherichia coli an effective approach to stimulating recombination frequencies has been developed called “recombineering,” in which phage-encoded recombination functions are transiently expressed to promote efficient homologous recombination. Although homologs of these recombination proteins are rare among mycobacteriophages, we have identified one phage, Che9c, encoding relatives of both RecE and RecT of the E. coli rac prophage. Expression of the Che9c proteins from an inducible expression system in either slow- or fast-growing mycobacteria provides elevated recombination frequencies and facilitates simple allelic exchange using linear DNA substrates. Mycobacterial recombineering, therefore, offers a simple approach for constructing gene replacement mutants in M. smegmatis and M. tuberculosis.

Key Words

Allelic exchange genetic engineering mutagenesis mycobacteriophage Mycobacterium tuberculosis recombineering 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia C. van Kessel
    • 1
  • Graham F. Hatfull
    • 1
  1. 1.Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute and Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh

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