The Journal of Toxicological Sciences
Online ISSN : 1880-3989
Print ISSN : 0388-1350
ISSN-L : 0388-1350
Development of a luminescence-based biosensor for detection of methylmercury
Takeshi NagataToshiaki MuraokaMasako KiyonoaHidemitsu Pan-Hou
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2010 Volume 35 Issue 2 Pages 231-234


A recombinant whole-cell bacterial sensor for highly selective and sensitive detection of the bioavailable methylmercury in the environment was constructed. The biosensor carries luciferase gene, luxAB, from Vibrio harveyi as a reporter under the control of the mercury inducible regulatory part of mer-operon from Pseudomonas K-62 plasmid pMR26. In addition, a merB gene encoding organomercurial lyase which cleaves the C-Hg bond of methylmercury to give Hg2+ was coexpressed in the sensor. The resulting bacterial sensor responded specifically to methylmercury, and the lowest detectable concentration of methylmercury was 10 pM with 1 ml sample in the optimized assay conditions. This detection limit is enough to detect this compound in many contaminated and some pristine environmental samples.

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© 2010 The Japanese Society of Toxicology
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