J Mingo, A Erramuzpe, S Luna, I Diez, JM Cortes and R Pulido. One-Tube-Only Standardized Site-Directed Mutagenesis: An Alternative Approach to Generate Amino Acid Substitution Collections. PLoS One 11: e0160972, 2016 [pdf]
Site-directed mutagenesis (SDM) is a powerful tool to create defined collections of protein variants for experimental and clinical purposes, but effectiveness is compromised when a large number of mutations is required. We present here a one-tube-only standardized SDM approach that generates comprehensive collections of amino acid substitution variants, including scanning- and single site-multiple mutations. The approach combines unified mutagenic primer design with the mixing of multiple distinct primer pairs and/or plasmid templates to increase the yield of a single inverse-PCR mutagenesis reaction. Also, a user-friendly program for automatic design of standardized primers for Ala-scanning mutagenesis is made available. Experimental results were compared with a modeling approach together with stochastic simulation data. For single site-multiple mutagenesis purposes and for simultaneous mutagenesis in different plasmid backgrounds, combination of primer sets and/or plasmid templates in a single reaction tube yielded the distinct mutations in a stochastic fashion. For scanning mutagenesis, we found that a combination of overlapping primer sets in a single PCR reaction allowed the yield of different individual mutations, although this yield did not necessarily follow a stochastic trend. Double mutants were generated when the overlap of primer pairs was below 60%. Our results illustrate that one-tube-only SDM effectively reduces the number of reactions required in large-scale mutagenesis strategies, facilitating the generation of comprehensive collections of protein variants suitable for functional analysis.