Bioreporters: gfp versus lux revisited and single-cell response

Biosens Bioelectron. 2007 Mar 15;22(8):1578-85. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2006.07.005. Epub 2006 Aug 22.


Genetically engineered organisms expressing spectroscopically active reporter molecules in response to chemical effectors display great potential as living transducers in sensing applications. Green fluorescent protein (gfp gene) bioreporters have distinct advantages over luminescent couterparts (lux gene), including applicability at the single-cell level, but are typically less sensitive. Here we describe a gfp-bearing bioreporter that is sensitive to naphthalene (a poorly water soluble pollutant behaving like a large class of hydrophobic compounds), is suitable for use in chemical assays and bioavailability studies, and has detection limits comparable to lux-bearing bioreporters for higher efficiency detection strategies. Simultaneously, we find that the exploitation of population response data from single-cell analysis is not an algorithmic conduit to enhanced signal detection and hence lower effector detection limits, as normally assumed. The assay reported functions to equal effect with or without biocide.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Luciferases / genetics*
  • Naphthalenes / toxicity


  • Naphthalenes
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • naphthalene
  • Luciferases