Luminescence-based whole-cell-sensing systems for cadmium and lead using genetically engineered bacteria

Ranjit S. Shetty, Sapna K. Deo, Puja Shah, Yan Sun, Barry P. Rosen, Sylvia Daunert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Whole-cell-based sensing systems that respond to cadmium and lead ions have been designed and developed using genetically engineered bacteria. These systems take advantage of the ability of certain bacteria to survive in environments polluted with cadmium and lead ions. The bacteria used in this investigation have been genetically engineered to produce reporter proteins in response to the toxic ions. This was achieved by modifying a strain of Escherichia coli to harbor plasmids pYSC1 and pYS2/pYSG1. In these dual-plasmid-based sensing systems, the expression of the reporters β-galactosidase and red-shifted green fluorescent protein (rs-GFP) was controlled by CadC, the regulatory protein of the cad operon. Regulation of the expression of the reporter proteins is related to the amount of cadmium and lead ions employed to induce the bacteria. The bacterial sensing systems were found to respond to cadmium, lead, and zinc ions, and had no significant response to nickel, copper, manganese, and cobalt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadmium resistance
  • Chemiluminescence
  • Fluorescence
  • Whole-cell sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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