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Sensors (Basel). 2009;9(11):9147-74. doi: 10.3390/s91109147. Epub 2009 Nov 17.

Reporter proteins in whole-cell optical bioreporter detection systems, biosensor integrations, and biosensing applications.

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The University of Tennessee, The Center for Environmental Biotechnology, 676 Dabney Hall, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996, USA; E-Mails: (D.C.); (S.R.).


Whole-cell, genetically modified bioreporters are designed to emit detectable signals in response to a target analyte or related group of analytes. When integrated with a transducer capable of measuring those signals, a biosensor results that acts as a self-contained analytical system useful in basic and applied environmental, medical, pharmacological, and agricultural sciences. Historically, these devices have focused on signaling proteins such as green fluorescent protein, aequorin, firefly luciferase, and/or bacterial luciferase. The biochemistry and genetic development of these sensor systems as well as the advantages, challenges, and common applications of each one will be discussed.


aequorin; bacterial luciferase (Lux); bioreporter; biosensor; firefly luciferase (Luc); green fluorescent protein (GFP)

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