What PCR enzyme would you recommend for use with the Directional TOPO™ Cloning Kits?

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Answer

For the Directional TOPO™ Cloning Vectors, a PCR product must be generated by a proofreading enzyme to create a blunt product. Pfx50™ or Accuprime™ Pfx and Accuprime™ Pfx Supermix from Life Technologies are recommended for use.

When cloning a Pfx-amplified PCR product, the insert to vector ratio is an important consideration. The PCR product generally needs to be diluted since Pfx generates a high concentration of product and using too much insert DNA can hamper the TOPO™ reaction. A 1:1 molar ratio of vector to insert (or about 2-10ng of insert) is recommended.

Answer Id: E4290

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Which PCR polymerases do you recommend for TA/Blunt/D-TOPO cloning and why?

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TA Cloning:
- This cloning method was designed for use with pure Taq polymerases (native, recombinant, hot start); however, High Fidelity or Taq blends generally work well with TA cloning. A 10:1 or 15:1 ratio of Taq to proofreader polymerase will still generate enough 3' A overhangs for TA cloning.
- Recommended polymerases include Platinum™ Taq, Accuprime™ Taq, Platinum™ or Accuprime™ Taq High Fidelity, AmpliTaq™, AmpliTaq Gold™, or AmpliTaq Gold™ 360.

Blunt cloning:
- Use a proofreading enzyme such as Platinum™ SuperFi™ DNA Polymerase.

Directional TOPO cloning:
- Platinum™ SuperFi™ DNA Polymerase works well.

Answer Id: E6651

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I am using a mammalian expression vector that has the neomycin resistance gene. Can I use neomycin for stable selection in mammalian cells?

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No; neomycin is toxic to mammalian cells. We recommend using Geneticin™ (a.k.a. G418 Sulfate), as it is a less toxic and very effective alternative for selection in mammalian cells.

Answer Id: E9181

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I used a mammalian expression vector but do not get any expression of my protein. Can you help me troubleshoot?

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Answer

Here are possible causes and solutions:

- Try the control expression that is included in the kit
Possible detection problem:

- Detection of expressed protein may not be possible in a transient transfection, since the transfection efficiency may be too low for detection by methods that assess the entire transfected population. We recommend optimizing the transfection efficiency, doing stable selection, or using methods that permit examination of individual cells. You can also increase the level of expression by changing the promoter or cell type.
- Expression within the cell may be too low for the chosen detection method. We recommend optimizing the detection protocol or finding more sensitive methods. If the protein is being detected by Coomassie/silver staining, we recommend doing a western blot for increased sensitivity. The presence of endogenous proteins in the lysate may obscure the protein of interest in a Coomassie/silver stain. If available, we recommend using a positive control for the western blot. Protein might be degraded or truncated: Check on a Northern. Possible time-course issue: Since the expression of a protein over time will depend upon the nature of the protein, we always recommend doing a time course for expression. A pilot time-course assay will help to determine the optimal window for expression. Possible cloning issues: Verify clones by restriction digestion and/or sequencing.

Answer Id: E9182

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Do you offer a GFP-expressing mammalian expression vector that I can use as a control to monitor my transfection and expression?

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Answer

We offer pJTI™ R4 Exp CMV EmGFP pA Vector, Cat. No. A14146, which you can use to monitor your transfection and expression.

Answer Id: E9154

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I am working with a mouse cell line and would like to express my gene at high levels using one of your vectors with the CMV promoter. Do you foresee any problems with this approach?

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Answer

The CMV promoter is known to be downregulated over time in mouse cell lines. Hence, we recommend using one of our non-CMV vectors, such as those with the EF1alpha or UbC promoter, for long-term expression in mouse cell lines.

Answer Id: E9152

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I performed stable selection but my antibiotic-resistant clones do not express my gene of interest. What could have gone wrong?

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Answer

Here are possible causes and solutions:

Detection method may not be appropriate or sensitive enough:
- We recommend optimizing the detection protocol or finding more sensitive methods. If the protein is being detected by Coomassie/silver staining, we recommend doing a western blot for increased sensitivity. The presence of endogenous proteins in the lysate may obscure the protein of interest in a Coomassie/silver stain. If available, we recommend using a positive control for the western blot.
- Insufficient number of clones screened: Screen at least 20 clones.
- Inappropriate antibiotic concentration used for stable selection: Make sure the antibiotic kill curve was performed correctly. Since the potency of a given antibiotic depends upon cell type, serum, medium, and culture technique, the dose must be determined each time a stable selection is performed. Even the stable cell lines we offer may be more or less sensitive to the dose we recommend if the medium or serum is significantly different.
- Expression of gene product (even low level) may not be compatible with growth of the cell line: Use an inducible expression system.
- Negative clones may result from preferential linearization at a vector site critical for expression of the gene of interest: Linearize the vector at a site that is not critical for expression, such as within the bacterial resistance marker.

Answer Id: E9183

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Is it okay if my construct has an ATG that is upstream of the ATG in my gene of interest? Will it interfere with translation of my gene?

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Answer

Translation initiation will occur at the first ATG encountered by the ribosome, although in the absence of a Kozak sequence, initiation will be relatively weak. Any insert downstream would express a fusion protein if it is in frame with this initial ATG, but levels of expressed protein are predicted to be low if there is a non-Kozak consensus sequence. If the vector contains a non-Kozak consensus ATG, we recommend that you clone your gene upstream of that ATG and include a Kozak sequence for optimal expression.

Answer Id: E9180

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What are the requirements for primer design when using directional TOPO™ cloning?

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Answer

Please consider the following when designing your primers:

- The 3’ pcr primer cannot contain homology to the 5’ flap sequence GTGG.
- The enzyme you use must create a blunt-ended PCR product for cloning.
- Primers cannot contain 5’ phosphates, which will block the 5’ OH nucleophile reactive group.
- The reading frame must be considered when you are designing your primers.

Answer Id: E6738

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What is the best ratio of insert:vector to use for cloning? Is there an equation to calculate this?

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Answer

You may have to try different ratios ranging from 1:1 to 15:1 insert:vector.

Equation:

length of insert (bp)/length of vector (bp) x ng of vector = ng of insert needed for 1:1 insert:vector ratio

Answer Id: E7645

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Your Gateway™-adapted TOPO™ vectors are supplied with a control template and control primers. Can I obtain the sequence of the control template?

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Answer

The sequence of the control template is proprietary.

Answer Id: E9853

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What is the best molar ratio of PCR product:vector to use for TOPO™ TA cloning? Is there an equation to calculate the quantity to use?

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Answer

We suggest starting with a molar ratio of 1:1 (insert:vector), with a range of 0.5:1 to 2:1. The quantity used in a TOPO™ cloning reaction is typically 5-10 ng of a 2 kb PCR product.

Equation:

length of insert (bp)/length of vector (bp) x ng of vector = ng of insert needed for 1:1 (insert:vector ratio)

Answer Id: E7648

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Can I use a Taq polymerase to generate my gene of interest for directional TOPO™ cloning?

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Answer

No, your gene of interest must be amplified with a proofreading polymerase such as AccuPrime™ Pfx or Platinum™ Pfx that leaves blunt ends for directional TOPO™ cloning.

Answer Id: E6743

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