New applications of bacterial systems to problems in toxicology

Crit Rev Toxicol. 1996 Sep;26(5):551-83. doi: 10.3109/10408449609037477.


Bacterial systems have long been of use in toxicology. In addition to providing general models of enzymes and paradigms for biochemistry and molecular biology, they have been adapted to practical genotoxicity assays. More recently, bacteria also have been used in the production of mammalian enzymes of relevance to toxicology. Escherichia coli has been used to express cytochrome P450, NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase, flavin-containing monooxygenase, glutathione S-transferase, quinone reductase, sulfotransferase, N-acetyltransferase, UDP-glucuronosyl transferase, and epoxide hydrolase enzymes from humans and experimental animals. The expressed enzymes have been utilized in a variety of settings, including coupling with bacterial genotoxicity assays. Another approach has involved expression of mammalian enzymes directly in bacteria for use in genotoxicity systems. Particularly with Salmonella typhimurium. Applications include both the reversion mutagenesis assay and a system using a chimera with an SOS-response indicator and a reporter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Biotransformation
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / chemistry
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • SOS Response, Genetics / drug effects
  • SOS Response, Genetics / genetics
  • Xenobiotics / toxicity


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Xenobiotics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System