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An efficient method for gene disruption in Neurospora crassa

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The frequency with which transforming DNA undergoes homologous recombination at a chromosomal site can be quite low in some fungal systems. In such cases, strategies for gene disruption or gene replacement must either select against ectopic integration events or provide easy screening to identify homologous site, double-crossover insertion events. A protocol is presented for efficient isolation of Neurospora crassa strains carrying a definitive null allele in a target gene. The protocol relies on the presence of a selectable marker flanking a disrupted plasmid-borne copy of the gene, and in the case presented led to a seven-fold enrichment for putative homologous site replacement events. In addition, a polymerase chain reaction assay is utilized for rapid identification of homologous recombinants among the remaining candidates. This protocol was used to identify 3 isolates, out of 129 primary transformants, which have a disruption in the Neurospora ccg-1 gene. The method should be applicable to a variety of fungal systems in which two selectable markers can be expressed, including those in which homologous recombination rates are too low to allow easy identification of homologous site insertions by the more traditional molecular method of Southern analysis. In addition to disrupting target genes for the purpose of generating null mutations, this method is useful for the targeting of reporter gene fusions to a native chromosomal site for the purpose of studying gene regulation.

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Correspondence to Jennifer J. Loros.

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Communicated by C. van den Hondel

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Aronson, B.D., Lindgren, K.M., Dunlap, J.C. et al. An efficient method for gene disruption in Neurospora crassa . Molec. Gen. Genet. 242, 490–494 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00281802

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Key words

  • Gene disruption
  • Homologous recombination
  • Neurospora
  • ccg-1
  • Null allele