It is widely believed that the vast majority of microbes in the environment have-yet-to-be cultured using standard techniques. Bulk DNA from microbial communities is therefore often cloned into large insert vectors (e.g. bacterial artificial chromosomes [BAC] or cosmids) in order to study the genetic properties of these as yet (un)-cultured bacteria. In a typical BAC experiment, tens of thousands of clones are generated with only a small fraction of colonies containing the target(s) of interest. Efficient screening methodologies are therefore needed to allow targeted clone isolation. In this paper, we describe a rapid, inexpensive protocol that allows for the identification of specific 16S ribosomal RNA genes in a metagenomic library arrayed into 384-well microtiter plates. The rapid screening protocol employs Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (TRFLP) analysis to identify wells containing specific T-RF peaks. A nested approach using multiplexed samples of 384, 48, 8, and single colony analysis is described and applied in order to survey a BAC library generated from a marine microbial community off the coast of New Jersey. Screening revealed a total of 50 different 16 rRNA genes within the BAC library. Overall, the multiplexing format provided a simple, cost effective methodology for detecting clones bearing a target gene of interest in a large clone library. However, the limitations of screening BAC libraries using PCR methodologies and recommendations for improved screening efficiency using this approach are also discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Bac library screening