Heavy metal detection with reporter genes

One month ago I was reporting how GFP has been turned in a mercury biosensor for in vivo application, now it's the turn of another "me too" sensor engineered with bacterial luciferase (luxCDABE). The two technologies are somewhat complementary, in effect the first one resides on a mutant GFP that binding mercury stop the fluorescence, in the second paper the mercury-inducible promoter (P-mer) drive the transcription of bacterial luciferase. Mercury (as far as 100 picoMolar) is able to induce luciferase expression with a maximum of activity around 8 hrs. Such biosensor is engineered in two bacterial strain (P. putida and E. aerogenes) known to be resistant to heavy metals (in fact they were isolated from polluted soil), so this biosensor seems to be adequate for the detection of mercury in soils and associated environments.

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Fu, Y., Chen, W., & Huang, Q. (2008). Construction of two lux-tagged Hg2+-specific biosensors and their luminescence performance Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 79 (3), 363-370 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-008-1442-1