Mass allelic exchange: enabling sexual genetics in Escherichia coli [article]

Varnica Khetrapal, Liyana Ow Yong, Swaine L Chen
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Despite dramatic advances in genomics, connecting genotypes to phenotypes is still challenging. Sexual genetics combined with linkage analysis is a powerful solution to this problem but generally unavailable in bacteria. We build upon a strong negative selection system to invent Mass Allelic Exchange (MAE), which enables hybridization of arbitrary (including pathogenic) strains of E. coli. MAE reimplements the natural phenomenon of random crossovers, enabling classical linkage analysis. We
more » ... strate the utility of MAE with virulence-related gain-of-function screens, discovering that transfer of a single operon from a uropathogenic strain is sufficient for enabling a commensal E. coli to form large intracellular bacterial collections within bladder epithelial cells. MAE thus enables assaying natural allelic variation in E. coli (and potentially other bacteria), complementing existing loss-of-function genomic techniques.
doi:10.1101/2020.11.30.405282 fatcat:ss3bjseqtnaufkowibaeanxhvi