Transferring whole genomes from bacteria to yeast spheroplasts using entire bacterial cells to reduce DNA shearing

Nat Protoc. 2014 Apr;9(4):743-50. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2014.045. Epub 2014 Mar 6.


Direct cell-to-cell transfer of genomes from bacteria to yeast facilitates genome engineering for bacteria that are not amenable to genetic manipulation by allowing instead for the utilization of the powerful yeast genetic tools. Here we describe a protocol for transferring whole genomes from bacterial cells to yeast spheroplasts without any DNA purification process. The method is dependent on the treatment of the bacterial and yeast cellular mixture with PEG, which induces cell fusion, engulfment, aggregation or lysis. Over 80% of the bacterial genomes transferred in this way are complete, on the basis of structural and functional tests. Excluding the time required for preparing starting cultures and for incubating cells to form final colonies, the protocol can be completed in 3 h.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA / genetics
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Mycoplasma mycoides / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Spheroplasts


  • DNA