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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2012 Oct;23(5):766-72. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Jun 2.

Bacterial signaling systems as platforms for rational design of new generations of biosensors.

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  • 1Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Rosario, Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Suipacha 590, S2002LRK Rosario, Argentina.


Bacterial signal-responsive regulatory circuits have been employed as platform to design and construct whole-cell bacterial biosensors for reporting toxicity. A new generation of biosensors with improved performance and a wide application range has emerged after the application of synthetic biology concepts to biosensor design. Site-directed mutagenesis, directed evolution and domain swapping were applied to upgrade signal detection or to create novel sensor modules. Rewiring of the genetic circuits allows improving the determinations and reduces the heterogeneity of the response between individual reporter cells. Moreover, the assembly of natural or engineered modules to biosensor platforms provides innovative outputs, expanding the range of application of these devises, from monitoring toxics and bioremediation to killing targeted cells.

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