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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Vaccinia virus expression vector: coexpression of beta-galactosidase provides visual screening of recombinant virus plaques.

We constructed a plasmid coexpression vector that directs the insertion of a foreign gene of interest together with the Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase (beta gal) gene into the thymidine kinase ( TK) locus of the vaccinia virus genome. Tissue culture cells that had been infected with vaccinia virus were transfected with a plasmid vector containing a foreign gene. TK- recombinants could be selected by a plaque assay on TK- cells in the presence of 5-bromodeoxyuridine and distinguished from spontaneous TK- mutants by the addition of a beta-gal indicator to the agarose overlay. Plaques that expressed beta-gal stained dark blue within several hours at 37 degrees C. Alternatively, TK- selection could be eliminated, and recombinant plaques could be readily identified solely by their blue color. The reverse procedure, in which the starting virus expresses beta-gal (i.e., forms blue plaques) and the desired recombinant has deleted the entire beta-gal gene (i.e., forms white plaques), is another alternative. Each protocol was tested by constructing vaccinia virus recombinants that express hepatitis B virus surface antigen.[1]


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