CeMiSt researchers develop a biosensor to study microbial secondary metabolites in soil

Monday 30 Nov 20
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CeMiSt researchers develop a biosensor to study microbial secondary metabolites in soil

Secondary metabolites such as antibiotics are produced in tiny amounts by microorganisms in natural settings. To understand the role of these metabolites, it is necessary to develop tools allowing their detection in the laboratory. This can be done by a range of chemical analytical techniques but also using biology. PhD student Morten Lindqvist Hansen in collaboration with Professor Lars Jelsbak has engineered a living biosensor that detects low amounts of a secondary metabolite, called diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG). This metabolite, which can modify the growth and development of other microorganisms and plants, is produced by members of the abundant group of soil bacteria called fluorescent pseudomonads. The biosensor consists of a circular piece of DNA (a plasmid) with a repressor module that, upon the presence of DAPG, allows the transcription of a reporter gene giving rise to a detectable response. In the absence of DAPG the repressor blocks transcription thus rendering the biosensor unresponsive. The biosensor has been used to screen the abundance of DAPG producing Pseudomonas species in soil from Danish grassland.

Referecnce:

Hansen, Morten Lindqvist ; He, Zhiming ; Wibowo, Mario ; Jelsbak, Lars. / Development of a whole cell biosensor for detection of 2, 4-diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG) producing bacteria from grassland soil. In: Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01400-20 

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