3 years ago

Engineering of Bacteriophage T4 Genome Using CRISPR-Cas9

Engineering of Bacteriophage T4 Genome Using CRISPR-Cas9
Jingen Zhu, Pan Tao, Wei-Chun Tang, Xiaorong Wu, Venigalla Rao
Bacteriophages likely constitute the largest biomass on Earth. However, very few phage genomes have been well-characterized, the tailed phage T4 genome being one of them. Even in T4, much of the genome remained uncharacterized. The classical genetic strategies are tedious, compounded by genome modifications such as cytosine hydroxylmethylation and glucosylation which makes T4 DNA resistant to most restriction endonucleases. Here, using the type-II CRISPR-Cas9 system, we report the editing of both modified (ghm-Cytosine) and unmodified (Cytosine) T4 genomes. The modified genome, however, is less susceptible to Cas9 nuclease attack when compared to the unmodified genome. The efficiency of restriction of modified phage infection varied greatly in a spacer-dependent manner, which explains some of the previous contradictory results. We developed a genome editing strategy by codelivering into E. coli a CRISPR-Cas9 plasmid and a donor plasmid containing the desired mutation(s). Single and multiple point mutations, insertions and deletions were introduced into both modified and unmodified genomes. As short as 50-bp homologous flanking arms were sufficient to generate recombinants that can be selected under the pressure of CRISPR-Cas9 nuclease. A 294-bp deletion in RNA ligase gene rnlB produced viable plaques, demonstrating the usefulness of this editing strategy to determine the essentiality of a given gene. These results provide the first demonstration of phage T4 genome editing that might be extended to other phage genomes in nature to create useful recombinants for phage therapy applications.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssynbio.7b00179

DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.7b00179

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