Degenerate oligonucleotide primed amplification of genomic DNA for combinatorial screening libraries and strain enrichment

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Virginia Tech


Combinatorial approaches in metabolic engineering can make use of randomized mutations and/or overexpression of randomized DNA fragments. When DNA fragments are obtained from a common genome or metagenome and packaged into the same expression vector, this is referred to as a DNA library. Generating quality DNA libraries that incorporate broad genetic diversity is challenging, despite the availability of published protocols. In response, a novel, efficient, and reproducible technique for creating DNA libraries was created in this research based on whole genome amplification using degenerate oligonucleotide primed PCR (DOP-PCR). The approach can produce DNA libraries from nanograms of a template genome or the metagenome of multiple microbial populations. The DOP-PCR primers contain random bases, and thermodynamics of hairpin formation was used to design primers capable of binding randomly to template DNA for amplification with minimal bias. Next-generation high-throughput sequencing was used to determine the design is capable of amplifying up to 98% of template genomic DNA and consistently out-performed other DOP-PCR primers.

Application of these new DOP-PCR amplified DNA libraries was demonstrated in multiple strain enrichments to isolate genetic library fragments capable of (i) increasing tolerance of E. coli ER2256 to toxic levels of 1-butanol by doubling the growth rate of the culture, (ii) redirecting metabolism to ethanol and pyruvate production (over 250% increase in yield) in Clostridium cellulolyticum when consuming cellobiose, and (iii) enhancing L-arginine production when used in conjunction with a new synthetic gene circuit.



Metabolic Engineering, Genomic DNA Library, Degenerate Oligonucleotide Primed PCR, Whole Genome Amplification, Raman Spectroscopy, Clostrdium cellulolyticum