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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2006 Feb;17(1):34-42. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Transcriptional regulators à la carte: engineering new effector specificities in bacterial regulatory proteins.

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  • 1Department of Microbial Biotechnology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC, Madrid 28049, Spain.


For many regulators of bacterial biodegradation pathways, small molecule/effector binding is the signal for triggering transcriptional activation. Thus, regulation results from a cross-talk between chemicals sensed by transcriptional factors and operon expression status. These features can be utilised in the construction of biosensors for a wide range of target compounds as, in principle, any regulatory protein whose activity is modulated by binding to a small molecule can have its effector/inducer profile artificially altered. The cognate specificities of a number of regulatory proteins have been modified as an astute approach to developing, among others, bacterial biosensors for environmentally relevant compounds.

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