Western University Background
The ability to genetically engineer Deinococcus radiodurans (D. radiodurans) is highly desirable due to the bacterium’s high survivability, which includes its capacity to resist damage from industrial processes that other bacteria cannot tolerate (e.g., treatment of mixed radioactive waste). Nevertheless, despite D. radiodurans unique characteristics, large-scale genetic modification of its DNA has not yet been demonstrated. Specifically, current methods of delivering DNA to D. radiodurans—which are likely stifled by the bacterium’s internal defense systems—only have low efficiencies and have not been able to transfer large regions of genomic information to the organism. Given that genetic engineering strategies rely on genetic transfer systems, the lack of a tool for efficient DNA delivery to D. radiodurans has greatly limited the scope of its potential industrial and biotechnology applications
Researchers at Western University have developed a simple and efficient method for transferring DNA fragments to D. radiodurans for multiple biotechnology applications allowing them to create designer strains for multiple applications. Furthermore, based on this method, they have created protocols for targeted gene deletion, and cloning of whole chromosomes and genome fragments of this bacterium. Altogether, these tools can streamline D. radiodurans genetic engineering and have the potential to rapidly advance the development of novel D. radiodurans strains for industrial applications.
The new DNA delivery method surpasses the challenges of native restriction systems. The invention is also a method for creating restriction minus strains which includes single deletions, double deletions or multiple deletions.
Efficiently delivers DNA fragments of choice to D. radiodurans
Enables large-scale genetic engineering (transfer whole chromosomes and large genomic regions)
Allows for targeted gene deletion
Resists bacterial DNA modification defense systems
Simplifies development of designer D. radiodurans strains for industrial applications (bioremediation and nanotechnology)
To treat contaminated soil, water, land sediments from pollution, specifically those contaminated with radionuclides, heavy metals, and toxic solvents.
To treat nuclear energy waste.
To design, synthesize, and modify functional select metal nanoparticles (e.g. Gold or Silver).
To improve nanolithography fabrication processes