Fels SR, Zane GM, Blake SM, Wall JD
Whole-genome fitness analysis in microbes that uses saturating transposon mutagenesis combined with massively parallel sequencing (Tn-seq) is providing a measure of the contribution of each gene to a given growth condition. With this technique, gene fitness profiles and essential genes are discovered by simultaneous analyses of whether the absence of each gene product alters the growth kinetics of the bacterium. Here we modify the standard Tn-seq procedure to simplify and shorten the process by including delivery of the transposon through conjugation and liquid culture enrichment of the mutant pool, creating transposon liquid enrichment sequencing (TnLE-seq). To illustrate the success of these modifications and the robustness of the procedure, analyses of gene fitness of two cultures of the strictly anaerobic bacterium Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough were performed, with growth on lactate as the electron donor and sulfate as the electron acceptor. These data demonstrate reproducibility and provide a base condition for analysis of fitness changes in deletion mutants and in various growth conditions. The procedural modifications will facilitate the application of this powerful genetic analysis to microbes lacking a facile genetic system. Pilot studies produced 2.5 × 10(5) and 3.4 × 10(5) unique insertion mutants in the anaerobe Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough grown under typical laboratory conditions in rich medium. These analyses provided two similar high-resolution maps of gene fitness across the genome, and the method was also applied to growth in minimal medium. These results were also compared to the coverage obtained with a ca. 13,000-member cataloged transposon library constructed by sequencing transposon insertion sites in individual mutants.