Fluorescent bacterial biosensor E. coli/pTdcR-TurboYFP sensitive to terahertz radiation

Serdyukov DS, Goryachkovskaya TN, Mescheryakova IA, Kuznetsov SA, Popik VM, Peltek SE. Fluorescent bacterial biosensor E. coli/pTdcR-TurboYFP sensitive to terahertz radiation. Biomed Opt Express. 2021;12(2):705-721. Published 2021 Jan 5. doi:10.1364/BOE.412074


A fluorescent biosensor E. coli/pTdcR-TurboYFP sensitive to terahertz (THz) radiation was developed via transformation of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells with plasmid, in which the promotor of the tdcR gene controls the expression of yellow fluorescent protein TurboYFP. The biosensor was exposed to THz radiation in various vessels and nutrient media. The threshold and dynamics of fluorescence were found to depend on irradiation conditions. Heat shock or chemical stress yielded the absence of fluorescence induction. The biosensor is applicable to studying influence of THz radiation on the activity of tdcR promotor that is involved in the transport and metabolism of threonine and serine in E. coli.


On the basis of the tdcR promoter, a THz-sensitive fluorescent bacterial biosensor, E. coli/pTdcR-TurboYFP, was created, which serves as a tool for studying tdcR promoter activity in E. coli cells. Induction of the newly developed biosensor was investigated under THz irradiation and under other conditions, and the main results can be summarized in these bullet points:

  • • The biosensor showed induction under the impact of THz radiation with different physical parameters.
  • • In comparison with the heat or chemical stressors tested, induction of the biosensor was specific to THz radiation.
  • • The induction was dose-dependent: the effect appeared or intensified with increasing irradiation duration from 15 to 30 min.
  • • Characteristics of the biosensor induction depended on physical parameters of THz radiation, on the type of vessel for irradiation, and on composition of the nutrient medium.

The biosensor E. coli/pTdcR-TurboYFP can be useful for static or dynamic and qualitative or quantitative intravital assessment of tdcR gene expression in E. coli cells. This biosensor may be helpful for the research into the influence of THz radiation on a living system and in other fields that require analysis of the activity of the tdcR gene promoter. Further investigation of E. coli/pTdcR-TurboYFP induction involving a variation in THz radiation characteristics is needed to better assess the limits of application of this tool.


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