Direct and crossover PCR amplification to facilitate Tn5supF-based sequencing of lambda phage clones

Nucleic Acids Res. 1991 Nov 25;19(22):6177-82. doi: 10.1093/nar/19.22.6177.


The 264 bp mini-transposon Tn5supF was constructed to sequence DNAs cloned in phage lambda without extensive shotgun subcloning or primer walking. Unique sequences near each transposon end serve as primer binding sites, and a supF gene is used to select transposition to lambda. We describe here PCR methods that facilitate Tn5supF-based sequencing. In a first pass, insertions are mapped relative to the ends of the cloned fragment using pairs of primers specific for vector DNA next to the cloning site and for a Tn5supF end. Most insertions not mapped in this step are near the center of the cloned fragment or in the vector arms, and are then mapped relative to the two innermost insertions by 'crossover' PCR. This involves amplification from primers on different DNA molecules, and generates hybrid DNA products whose lengths correspond to the distances between the two insertions. We routinely amplified more than 6 kb in direct PCR and 3 kb in crossover PCR; at the limit we amplified up to approximately 10 kb in direct PCR and approximately 6 kb in crossover PCR, but not reproducibly. Crossover PCR products were also obtained with insertions separated by only 200 bp, indicating that no rare sites are needed to switch templates. PCR products were purified by adsorption and then elution from glass slurry, and sequenced directly. Ladders of more than 400 bp were obtained from primer sites on each DNA strand; 2 kb was read from crossover PCR products, and showed that they were amplified with fidelity. In conclusion, direct and crossover PCR methods expedite transposon insertion mapping, and yield templates for accurate sequencing of both DNA strands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autoradiography
  • Bacteriophage lambda / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Clone Cells
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genes, Viral
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Viral