We created a generalizable pipeline for antibiotic-resistance-gene-free plasmid (ARGFP)-based cloning using a dual auxotrophic- and essential-gene-based selection strategy. We use auxotrophic selection to construct plasmids in engineered E. coli DH10B cloning strains and both auxotrophic- and essential-gene-based selection to (1) select for recombinant strains and (2) maintain a plasmid in E. coli Nissle 1917, a common chassis for engineered probiotic applications, and E. coli MG1655, the laboratory “wild-type” E. coli strain. We show that our approach has comparable efficiency to that of antibiotic-resistance-gene-based cloning. We also show that the double-knockout Nissle and MG1655 strains are simple to transform with plasmids of interest. Notably, we show that the engineered Nissle strains are amenable to long-term plasmid maintenance in repeated culturing as well as in the mouse gut, demonstrating the potential for broad applications while minimizing the risk of antibiotic resistance spread via horizontal gene transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100669
JournalCell Reports Methods
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 18 2023


  • CP: Biotechnology
  • CP: Microbiology
  • antibiotic resistance
  • cloning
  • gut
  • horizontal gene transfer
  • plasmid
  • probiotic


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