The introduction of DNA into bacterial cells is one of the foundational methods of bacterial genetics. Transformation of mycobacterial species is complicated due to the structure of the cell wall, which has a complex outer layer with low permeability. Electroporation has become a routine procedure in genetic studies. In this process, cells are subjected to a brief high-voltage electrical impulse which allows the entry of DNA. It can be used to introduce plasmid DNA, phage DNA, or oligonucleotides. This chapter presents methods for introducing DNA into a representative slow-growing species, M. tuberculosis, and a representative fast-growing species, M. smegmatis. Other mycobacteria can be transformed using variations of these methods, although the efficiency of transformation will vary.
Bacterial Genetics; DNA delivery; Electroporation; Mycobacteria; Plasmids.