Shining light on signaling and metabolic networks by genetically encoded biosensors

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2005 Dec;8(6):574-81. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2005.09.015. Epub 2005 Sep 26.


Fluorescent labels have revolutionized cell biology. Signaling intermediates and metabolites can be measured in real time with subcellular spatial resolution. Most of these sensors are based on fluorescent proteins, and many report fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Because the biosensors are genetically encoded, a toolbox for addressing cell biological questions at the systems level is now available. Fluorescent biosensors are able to determine the localization of proteins and their dynamics, to reveal the cellular and subcellular localization of the respective interactions and activities, and to provide complementary data on the steady state levels of ions, metabolites, and signaling intermediates with high temporal and spatial resolution. They represent the basis for cell-based high-throughput assays that are necessary for a systems perspective on plant cell function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*