Production of recombineering substrates with standard-size PCR primers


Correspondence: David H. Figurski, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, 701 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA. Tel.: +212 305 3425; fax: +212 305 1468; e-mail:


Recombineering is a powerful method for DNA manipulation. It has advantages over restriction endonuclease–based methods and is usually rapid. Typically, recombineering uses long PCR primers (c. 65 bases), each of which contains a small region of target homology (c. 45 bases). We have developed a simple, albeit somewhat less rapid, strategy to create recombineering substrates that can use primers of ≤ 35 bases for all steps. The regions of homology can be several hundred base pairs in length to (1) increase the chance of obtaining the desired clone and/or (2) allow coliphage-based recombineering in some non-Escherichia coli bacteria. The method uses cloning techniques to construct a template for the generation of the recombineering substrate. Because the template is made from cloned DNA segments, the segments (including those for the homology regions) can be readily changed. During construction of the template plasmid, potential background transformants arising from the vector without insert are significantly reduced by cloning each segment with two restriction endonucleases that produce noncompatible ends. We have used this method to change the bla gene of pACYC177 to aadA, to add the MCS-lacZα region from pBBR1MCS to IncQ plasmid vectors, and to make an oriTIncP-aacC1 cassette and add it to a plasmid.