Application of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae FLP/FRT recombination system in filamentous fungi for marker recycling and construction of knockout strains devoid of heterologous genes.
To overcome the limited availability of antibiotic resistance markers in filamentous fungi, we adapted the FLP/FRT recombination system from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for marker recycling. We tested this system in the penicillin producer Penicillium chrysogenum using different experimental approaches. In a two-step application, we first integrated ectopically a nourseothricin resistance cassette flanked by the FRT sequences in direct repeat orientation (FRT-nat1 cassette) into a P. chrysogenum recipient. In the second step, the gene for the native yeast FLP recombinase, and in parallel, a codon-optimized P. chrysogenum flp (Pcflp) recombinase gene, were transferred into the P. chrysogenum strain carrying the FRT-nat1 cassette. The corresponding transformants were analyzed by PCR, growth tests, and sequencing to verify successful recombination events. Our analysis of several single- and multicopy transformants showed that only when the codon-optimized recombinase was present could a fully functional recombination system be generated in P. chrysogenum. As a proof of application of this system, we constructed a DeltaPcku70 knockout strain devoid of any heterologous genes. To further improve the FLP/FRT system, we produced a flipper cassette carrying the FRT sites as well as the Pcflp gene together with a resistance marker. This cassette allows the controlled expression of the recombinase gene for one-step marker excision. Moreover, the applicability of the optimized FLP/FRT recombination system in other fungi was further demonstrated by marker recycling in the ascomycete Sordaria macrospora. Here, we discuss the application of the optimized FLP/FRT recombination system as a molecular tool for the genetic manipulation of filamentous fungi.
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