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Cheng, H.-Y., C.A. Masiello, I. Del Valle, X. Gao, G.N. Bennett, and J.J. Silberg.
ACS Synthetic Biology [Published online 24 Jan 2018 prior to print]

A new ratiometric gas reporting method is described for non-disruptively monitoring gene expression within hard-to-image environmental matrices. With this approach, ethylene is continuously synthesized by ethylene-forming enzyme to provide information on viable cell number, and methyl bromide is conditionally synthesized by placing a methyl halide transferase gene under the control of a conditional promoter. Ratiometric gas reporting enables the creation of Escherichia coli biosensors that report on acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) autoinducers used for quorum sensing by gram-negative bacteria. The biosensors can be used in soil for non-disruptive monitoring of AHLs synthesized by Rhizobium leguminosarum and degraded by Bacillus thuringiensis. This new reporting approach can also be used in Shewanella oneidensis, a bacterium that lives in sediments. See additional information in the Rice University news release at http://news.rice.edu/2018/02/01/two-stage-gas-sensor-reports-on-soil-dynamics/.

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