Random chemical mutation of a Corynebacterium glutamicum- Escherichia coli shuttle vector derived from plasmid pCGR2 was done using hydroxylamine. It brought about amino acid substitutions G109D and E180K within the replicase superfamily domain of the plasmid's RepA protein and rendered the plasmid highly unstable, especially at higher incubation temperatures. Colony formation of C. glutamicum was consequently completely inhibited at 37°C but not at 25°C. G109 is a semi-conserved residue mutation which resulted in major temperature sensitivity. E180 on the other hand is not conserved even among RepA proteins of closely related C. glutamicum pCG1 family plasmids and its independent mutation caused relatively moderate plasmid instability. Nonetheless, simultaneous mutation of both residues was required to achieve temperature-sensitive colony formation. This new pCGR2-derived temperature-sensitive plasmid enabled highly efficient chromosomal integration in a variety of C. glutamicum wild-type strains, proving its usefulness in gene disruption studies. Based on this, an efficient markerless gene replacement system was demonstrated using a selection system incorporating the temperature-sensitive replicon and Bacillus subtilis sacB selection marker, a system hitherto not used in this bacterium. Single-crossover integrants were accurately selected by temperature-dependent manner and 93% of the colonies obtained by the subsequent sucrose selection were successful double-crossover recombinants.
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