Generating Transposon Insertion Libraries in Gram-Negative Bacteria for High-Throughput Sequencing

J Vis Exp. 2020 Jul 7;(161):10.3791/61612. doi: 10.3791/61612.


Transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) is a powerful method that combines transposon mutagenesis and massive parallel sequencing to identify genes and pathways that contribute to bacterial fitness under a wide range of environmental conditions. Tn-seq applications are extensive and have not only enabled examination of genotype-phenotype relationships at an organism level but also at the population, community and systems levels. Gram-negative bacteria are highly associated with antimicrobial resistance phenotypes, which has increased incidents of antibiotic treatment failure. Antimicrobial resistance is defined as bacterial growth in the presence of otherwise lethal antibiotics. The "last-line" antimicrobial colistin is used to treat Gram-negative bacterial infections. However, several Gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter baumannii can develop colistin resistance through a range of molecular mechanisms, some of which were characterized using Tn-seq. Furthermore, signal transduction pathways that regulate colistin resistance vary within Gram-negative bacteria. Here we propose an efficient method of transposon mutagenesis in A. baumannii that streamlines generation of a saturating transposon insertion library and amplicon library construction by eliminating the need for restriction enzymes, adapter ligation, and gel purification. The methods described herein will enable in-depth analysis of molecular determinants that contribute to A. baumannii fitness when challenged with colistin. The protocol is also applicable to other Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens, which are primarily associated with drug resistant hospital-acquired infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter baumannii / genetics*
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Gene Library*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mutagenesis


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial