Plasmids are circular, self-replicating double stranded DNA present in most bacteria, but can be found in a few archaea and eukaryotic organisms. They serve as a back-up of helpful genes for their host organism, such as providing antibiotic resistance. Plasmids transfer their genetic material to other bacteria through mainly three mechanisms: transformation, transduction, and conjugation. This process of genetic exchange is known as horizontal gene transfer. Although not a common mechanism for molecular cloning, conjugation is the process in which two bacteria join together for genetic transfer, providing a quick way for plasmids to spread throughout a population.
Vector simply refers to the molecule which ‘carries’ foreign genetic material into another cell to be replicated and expressed. In this case, a plasmid is transformed into recombinant DNA and then introduced through various means, hence plasmid vector.
Plasmid vectors can be used in a wide range of biotechnological experiments such as cloning, PCR, or sequencing. Plasmid vectors though are most useful in cloning experiments, as they can be modified since they have multiple cloning sites. Having multiple cloning sites allows restriction enzymes to cleave these regions of the plasmid, allowing for genetic material to be inserted and allowing scientists to introduce genes of their choosing.
Introducing recombinant DNA into a host cell has various research implications. To start, cloning has led to sequencing the complete genome of several species. Also, cloning illustrates how genes are expressed within the cell, revealing the inner mechanisms of various cellular functions, like metabolism, signaling, development, senescence and cell death. More recently, plasmid vectors have been used to supply functional genes to cells that are deficient; hopefully curing those cells.
When dealing with plasmid vectors, it is important to have an understanding of the nomenclature used, which can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never been exposed to it before. So to help ease this process here is a guide to help you map your way through naming genotypes:
Genes are represented by three letters in lower case as dictated by their phenotype or pathway. Multiple genes in the same pathway are separated with a capital letter following the three-letter name.
Ex: the gene pyr, so named as they synthesize pyrimidine. pyrC is a gene within the pyrimidine pathway and produces an enzyme. Another gene involved in pyrimidine but codes for a different enzyme would be called pyrD.
In representing alleles, every mutation is designated with a number. Each allele or mutation within a pathway is assigned a unique number, to prevent any confusion or error.
When indicating phenotype, the abbreviation is not italicized and the first letter capitalized i.e. DnaA (which is a protein produced by the dnaA gene).
Compare Plasmid Vectors
With our compare function, you can avoid all the time and energy wasted sifting through multiple web pages from different
suppliers. At ZAGENO you can clearly see kits side-by-side, with the relevant attributes for each kit neatly in line for easy
selection of the best product for you.
Click on the comparison below for a clearer view!
For example, this comparison shows:
that the METHYLATED & NON-METHYLATED PUC19 DNA SET Kit from Zymo Research can be used for methylation studies.
that the PUC19 DNA Kit from Thermo Scientific is the cheapest per µg or µl.
that the PUC 19 DNA Kit from Clontech can be used for DNA sequencing with M13 primers.
This comparison clearly exemplifies how every kit has strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what features you require for your experiment, these details should enable you to make an informed decision on the right kit for you.
The ZAGENO comparison does not highlight one kit to be better than the other, as the kit of choice may vary between researchers - depending on each individual's preferred attributes. The best kit is the one that meets your needs - ZAGENO allows you to make an informed decision with minimum effort.
Check out our How It Works page for a guide to using the comparison function.