Construction of bioluminescent cyanobacterial reporter strains for detection of nickel, cobalt and zinc

Loredana Peca, Péter B. Kós, Zoltan Máté, Andrea Farsang, Imre Vass

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Two whole-cell bioluminescent reporters were constructed by fusing the reporter genes luxAB with the Co2+ and Zn2+ inducible coaT promoter or the Ni2+-inducible nrsBACD promoter, respectively, in the genome of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. The obtained reporters, designated coaLux and nrsLux, respectively, responded quantitatively to metal ions. After 3 h incubation at 40 μmol m-2 s-1 visible light, the detection range of coaLux was 0.3-6 μM for Co2+ and 1-3 μM for Zn2+. Incubation in darkness increased the detection range by about four times. The nrsLux reporter was specific to Ni2+, with a detection range of 0.2-6 μM. However, its activity was inhibited by Zn 2+ with a half maximal inhibitory concentration c. 6 μM, and totally inhibited by darkness. This is the first whole-cell Ni 2+-specific reporter with a clear dose-signal relationship. In a soil-like mixture of different chemical and oil industry wastes, the coaLux reporter strain detected about 90% of the zinc content of the sample. This study demonstrates the potential for development of a rapid, simple and economical field assay for nickel, cobalt and zinc detection using the coaLux and nrsLux reporters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-264
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS microbiology letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2008



  • Bioluminescent bioreporter
  • Cobalt
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Nickel
  • Synechocystis PCC 6803
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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