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Construction of two lux-tagged Hg2+-specific biosensors and their luminescence performance


Two Hg2+-specific biosensors were constructed using bacterial luciferase as reporter gene and plasmid-free Pseudomonas putida X4 and Enterobacter aerogenes NTG-01 as host strains. The performance of X4 biosensor was compared with that of NTG-01 biosensor in the same assay conditions. The maximum bioluminescence for X4 (pmerRluxCDABE-Kan) biosensor was found during the midexponential phase and that for NTG-01 (pmerRluxCDABE-Kan) was at the late exponential phase. The shortest induction time of two biosensors was 30 min. The maximum light signal output for NTG-01 and X4 sensors was observed at the incubation time of 5 and 4 h, respectively. The lowest detectable concentration of mercury by the two biosensors were both of 100 pM at 28°C, pH 7 and an initial cell number of 106 CFU ml−1. Cd2+, Zn2+, Co2+, Cu2+, and Pb2 + ions at nanomolar level did not interfere with the measurement by the biosensors. These results show that the sensitivity of the two biosensors is sufficient for the detection of Hg2+ under most contaminated environments.

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We thank Kaisa Hakkila for providing plasmid pmerRluxCDABE.

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Correspondence to Qiao-Yun Huang.

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Fu, Y., Chen, W. & Huang, Q. Construction of two lux-tagged Hg2+-specific biosensors and their luminescence performance. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 79, 363–370 (2008).

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  • LuxCDABE
  • Biosensor
  • Mercury
  • Luminescence