The bare necessities: Uncovering essential and condition-critical genes with transposon sequencing

Robert C. Shields, Paul A. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Querying gene function in bacteria has been greatly accelerated by the advent of transposon sequencing (Tn-seq) technologies (related Tn-seq strategies are known as TraDIS, INSeq, RB-TnSeq, and HITS). Pooled populations of transposon mutants are cultured in an environment and next-generation sequencing tools are used to determine areas of the genome that are important for bacterial fitness. In this review we provide an overview of Tn-seq methodologies and discuss how Tn-seq has been applied, or could be applied, to the study of oral microbiology. These applications include studying the essential genome as a means to rationally design therapeutic agents. Tn-seq has also contributed to our understanding of well-studied biological processes in oral bacteria. Other important applications include in vivo pathogenesis studies and use of Tn-seq to probe the molecular basis of microbial interactions. We also highlight recent advancements in techniques that act in synergy with Tn-seq such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) interference and microfluidic chip platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Oral Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • essential genes
  • functional genomics
  • next-generation sequencing
  • oral microbiology
  • transposon sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)


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