The applications of systematic in-frame, single-gene knockout mutant collection of Escherichia coli K-12

Methods Mol Biol. 2008;416:183-94. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-321-9_12.


The increasing genome sequence data of microorganisms has provided the basis for comprehensive understanding of organisms at the molecular level. Besides sequence data, a large number of experimental and computational resources are required for genome-scale analyses. Escherichia coli K-12 has been one of the best characterized organisms in molecular biology. Recently, the whole-genome sequences of two closely related E. coli K-12 strains, MG1655 (1) and W3110 (2), were compared and confirmed by resequencing selected regions from both strains (2). The availability of highly accurate E. coli K-12 genomes provided an impetus for the cooperative reannotation of both MG1655 and W3110 (3). A set of precisely defined, single-gene knockout mutants of all nonessential genes in E. coli K-12 was constructed based on the recent accurate genome sequence data ([4] and Chapter 11). These mutants were designed to create in-frame (nonpolar) deletions upon elimination of the resistance cassette. These mutants have provided new key information on E. coli biology. First, the vast majority of the 3985 genes that were independently disrupted at least twice are probably nonessential, at least under the conditions of selection. Second, the 303 genes that we repeatedly failed to disrupt are candidates for E. coli essential genes. Lastly, phenotypic effects of all these mutations in the uniform genetic background of E. coli BW25113 were assessed by profiling mutants' growth yields on rich and minimal media (4). These mutants should provide not only a basic resource for systematic functional genomics but also an experimental data source for systems biology applications. The mutants can serve as fundamental tools for a number of reverse genetics approaches, permitting analysis of the consequences of the complete loss of gene function, in contrast with forward genetics approaches in which mutant phenotypes are associated with a corresponding gene or genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Congresses as Topic
  • Escherichia coli K12 / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified*
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Escherichia coli Proteins