Selectable marker recycling in the chloroplast

Mol Gen Genet. 1996 Jun 12;251(3):373-80. doi: 10.1007/BF02172529.


The bacterial gene aadA is an important and widely used selectable marker for manipulation of the chloroplast genome through biolistic transformation. Because no other such marker is available, two strategies for recycling of the aadA cassette have been developed. One utilizes homologous recombination between two direct repeats flanking the aadA cassette to allow its loss under non-selective growth conditions. A second strategy is to perform co-transformation with a plasmid containing a modified, non-essential chloroplast gene and another plasmid in which the aadA cassette disrupts a chloroplast gene known to be essential for survival. Under selective growth conditions the first mutation can be transferred to all chloroplast DNA copies whereas the aadA insertion remains heteroplasmic. Loss of the selectable marker can be achieved subsequently by growing the cells on non-selective media. In both cases it is possible to reuse the aadA cassette for the stepwise disruption or mutagenesis of any gene in the same strain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics*
  • Chloroplasts / genetics*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / methods*
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics*
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins / genetics
  • Photosystem I Protein Complex*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Genetic Markers
  • Membrane Proteins
  • PSI-A protein, Synechococcus
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex Proteins
  • Photosystem I Protein Complex
  • Proteins
  • photosystem I, psaB subunit
  • Nucleotidyltransferases
  • streptomycin 3''-adenylyltransferase