Lox'd in translation: contradictions in the nomenclature surrounding common lox-site mutants and their implications in experiments

Microbiology (Reading). 2021 Jan;167(1):000997. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000997. Epub 2020 Dec 7.


The Cre-Lox system is a highly versatile and powerful DNA recombinase mechanism, mainly used in genetic engineering to insert or remove desired DNA sequences. It is widely utilized across multiple fields of biology, with applications ranging from plants, to mammals, to microbes. A key feature of this system is its ability to allow recombination between mutant lox sites. Two of the most commonly used mutant sites are named lox66 and lox71, which recombine to create a functionally inactive double mutant lox72 site. However, a large portion of the published literature has incorrectly annotated these mutant lox sites, which in turn can lead to difficulties in replication of methods, design of proper vectors and confusion over the proper nomenclature. Here, we demonstrate common errors in annotations, the impacts they can have on experimental viability, and a standardized naming convention. We also show an example of how this incorrect annotation can induce toxic effects in bacteria that lack optimal DNA repair systems, exemplified by Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Keywords: Cre-Lox; Lox66; Lox71; Lox72; LoxP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation*
  • Mutation
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Terminology as Topic