Date of this Version
J Microbiol Methods. 2009 December ; 79(3): 295–300.
Polymerase chain assembly (PCA) is a technique used to synthesize genes ranging from a few hundred base pairs to many kilobase pairs in length. In traditional PCA, equimolar concentrations of single stranded DNA oligonucleotides are repeatedly hybridized and extended by a polymerase enzyme into longer dsDNA constructs, with relatively few full-length sequences being assembled. Thus, traditional PCA is followed by a second primer-mediated PCR reaction to amplify the desired full-length sequence to useful, detectable quantities. Integration of assembly and primer-mediated amplification steps into a single reaction using a high-speed thermocycler is shown to produce similar results. For the integrated technique, the effects of oligo concentration, primer concentration, and number of oligonucleotides are explored. The technique is successfully demonstrated for the synthesis of two genes encoding EPCR-1 (653 bp) and pUC19 β-lactamase (929 bp) in under 20 min. However, rapid integrated PCA–PCR was found to be problematic when attempted with the TM-1 gene (1509 bp). Partial oligonucleotide sets of TM-1 could be assembled and amplified simultaneously, indicating that the technique may be limited to a maximum number of oligonucleotides due to competitive annealing and competition for primers.