Optical imaging fiber-based live bacterial cell array biosensor

Israel Biran, David M. Rissin, Eliora Z. Ron, David R. Walt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A live cell array biosensor was fabricated by immobilizing bacterial cells on the face of an optical imaging fiber containing a high-density array of microwells. Each microwell accommodates a single bacterium that was genetically engineered to respond to a specific analyte. A genetically modified Escherichia coli strain, containing the lacZ reporter gene fused to the heavy metal-responsive gene promoter zntA, was used to fabricate a mercury biosensor. A plasmid carrying the gene coding for the enhanced cyan fluorescent protein (ECFP) was also introduced into this sensing strain to identify the cell locations in the array. Single cell lacZ expression was measured when the array was exposed to mercury and a response to 100nM Hg2+ could be detected after a 1-h incubation time. The optical imaging fiber-based single bacterial cell array is a flexible and sensitive biosensor platform that can be used to monitor the expression of different reporter genes and accommodate a variety of sensing strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2003


  • Environmental pollutants
  • Optical fibers
  • Reporter gene
  • Single cell assay
  • Whole cell biosensors


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