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Biosens Bioelectron. 2011 Apr 15;26(8):3647-53. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2011.02.022. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

A portable bioluminescence engineered cell-based biosensor for on-site applications.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Belmeloro 6, 40126 Bologna, Italy.


We have developed a portable biosensing device based on genetically engineered bioluminescent (BL) cells. Cells were immobilized on a 4 × 3 multiwell cartridge using a new biocompatible matrix that preserved their vitality. Using a fiber optic taper, the cartridge was placed in direct contact with a cooled CCD sensor to image and quantify the BL signals. Yeast and bacterial cells were engineered to express recognition elements, whose interaction with the analyte led to luciferase expression, via reporter gene technology. Three different biosensors were developed. The first detects androgenic compounds using yeast cells carrying a green-emitting P. pyralis luciferase regulated by the human androgen receptor and a red mutant of the same species as internal vitality control. The second biosensor detects two classes of compounds (androgens and estrogens) using yeast strains engineered to express green-or red-emitting mutant firefly luciferases in response to androgens or estrogens, respectively. The third biosensor detects lactose analogue isopropyl β-d-1-thiogalactopyranoside using two E. coli strains. One strain exploits the lac operon as recognition element for the expression of P. pyralis luciferase. The other strain serves as a vitality control expressing Gaussia princeps luciferase, which requires a different luciferin substrate. The immobilized cells were stable for up to 1 month. The analytes could be detected at nanomolar levels with good precision and accuracy when the specific signal was corrected using the internal vitality control. This portable device can be used for on-site multiplexed bioassays for different compound classes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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