Bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) are well-established cloning vehicles for functional genomics and for constructing targeting vectors and infectious viral DNA clones. Red-recombination-based mutagenesis techniques have enabled the manipulation of BACs in Escherichia coli without any remaining operational sequences. Here, we describe that the F-factor- derived vector sequences can be inserted into a novel position and seamlessly removed from the present location of the BAC-cloned DNA via synchronous Red-recombination in E. coli in an en passant mutagenesis-based procedure. Using this technique, the mini-F elements of a cloned infectious varicella zoster virus (VZV) genome were specifically transposed into novel positions distributed over the viral DNA to generate six different BAC variants. In comparison to the other constructs, a BAC variant with mini-F sequences directly inserted into the junction of the genomic termini resulted in highly efficient viral DNA replication-mediated spontaneous vector excision upon virus reconstitution in transfected VZV-permissive eukaryotic cells. Moreover, the derived vector-free recombinant progeny exhibited virtually indistinguishable genome properties and replication kinetics to the wild-type virus. Thus, a sequence-independent, efficient, and easy-to-apply mini-F vector transposition procedure eliminates the last hurdle to perform virtually any kind of imaginable targeted BAC modifications in E. coli. The herpesviral terminal genomic junction was identified as an optimal mini-F vector integration site for the construction of an infectious BAC, which allows the rapid generation of mutant virus without any unwanted secondary genome alterations. The novel mini-F transposition technique can be a valuable tool to optimize, repair or restructure other established BACs as well and may facilitate the development of gene therapy or vaccine vectors. © 2009 Wussow et al.
Wussow, F., Fickenscher, H., & Tischer, B. K. (2009). Red-mediated transposition and final release of the mini-f vector of a cloned infectious herpesvirus genome. PLoS ONE, 4(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008178