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Length of foreign DNA in chimeric plasmids determines the efficiency of its integration into the chromosome of the cyanobacteriumSynechococcusR2

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DOI: 10.1016/0378-1119(84)90073-8
  • Transformation
  • E. Coli
  • Pbr322 Vectors
  • Homologous Recombination
  • Blue-Green Algae


Abstract The photosynthetic cyanobacterium Synechococcus R2 is efficiently transformed by DNA molecules that contain antibiotic genes from Escherichia coli linked to a segment of Synechococcus R2 chromosomal DNA. Antibiotic-resistant transformants result from integration of donor DNA into the cyanobacterial chromosome by homologous recombination. Foreign DNA interrupting the cyanobacterial sequence in the donor molecule integrates by replacement of homologous recipient DNA with donor DNA containing the foreign insert. Foreign DNA linked to the ends of the cyanobacterial fragment in a circular donor molecule integrates by a reciprocal cross-over between donor and recipient sequences. Using donor molecules that contain different lengths of foreign DNA in both of the above positions, we have determined that the probability of integration decreases by half for each increase of 2 to 3 kb in length of a foreign segment, regardless of its position in the donor molecule. The length of one of the two foreign segments has no effect on the integration of the other. Foreign DNA 20 kb in length is completely stable when it has integrated by the replacement mechanism. The ability to stably introduce large pieces of foreign DNA makes Synechococcus R2 an attractive organism in which to study and modify both native and heterologous genes involved in oxygenic photosynthesis.

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