Whole-cell-reporter-gene-based biosensing systems on a compact disk microfluidics platform

Anna Rothert, Sapna K. Deo, Lori Millner, Libby G. Puckett, Marc J. Madou, Sylvia Daunert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Biosensing systems such as reporter-gene-based whole-cell assays are increasingly finding applications in biological and environmental screening. A whole-cell approach to such analyses can provide valuable information about the bioavailable level of a compound of interest. These biosensing systems rely on the molecular recognition of a specific analyte by a regulatory protein and, therefore, can detect low levels of the target analyte. In this study, Escherichia coli cells containing plasmid pSD10 were engineered to sense the model target analytes arsenite and antimonite, the target analytes in this study. The biosensing system takes advantage of the recognition of the regulatory protein, ArsR, for arsenite and antimonite to produce the reporter protein, which in this case is GFPuv. The fluorescence emitted by the GFPuv in the cells can be directly related to the concentration of the analyte in the cell, making this biosensing system useful in the detection of arsenite and/or antimonite in a variety of samples. Miniaturization of biosensing systems can further enhance their utility by decreasing reagent consumption and analysis time and by allowing for the high-throughput screening of samples. To that end, we employed a microcentrifugal microfluidics platform that has low power, space, and reagent requirements, increased speed of detection, and the potential for portability. Herein, we demonstrate for the first time the adaptation of a whole-cell sensing system to a microcentrifugal microfluidics platform. Moreover, we were able to detect our target analytes in a rapid and sensitive manner compared to conventional sensing methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Arsenic
  • Compact disc microfluidics platform
  • Reporter gene assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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