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Copy number of ArsR reporter plasmid determines its arsenite response and metal specificity

Fang, Yun, Zhu, Chunjie, Chen, Xingjuan, Wang, Yan, Xu, Meiying, Sun, Guoping, Guo, Jun, Yoo, Jinnon, Tie, Cuijuan, Jiang, Xin, Li, Xianqiang
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2018 v.102 no.13 pp. 5753-5761
Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Escherichia coli, arsenites, biosensors, chromosomes, detection limit, models, operon, plasmids, reporter genes, transcription (genetics)
The key component in bacteria-based biosensors is a transcriptional reporter employed to monitor induction or repression of a reporter gene corresponding to environmental change. In this study, we made a series of reporters in order to achieve highly sensitive detection of arsenite. From these reporters, two biosensors were developed by transformation of Escherichia coli DH5α with pLHPars9 and pLLPars9, consisting of either a high or low copy number plasmid, along with common elements of ArsR-luciferase fusion and addition of two binding sequences, one each from E. coli and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans chromosome, in front of the R773 ArsR operon. Both of them were highly sensitive to arsenite, with a low detection limit of 0.04 μM arsenite (~ 5 μg/L). They showed a wide dynamic range of detection up to 50 μM using high copy number pLHPars9 and 100 μM using low copy number pLLPars9. Significantly, they differ in metal specificity, pLLPars9 more specific to arsenite, while pLHPars9 to both arsenite and antimonite. The only difference between pLHPars9 and pLLPars9 is their copy numbers of plasmid and corresponding ratios of ArsR to its binding promoter/operator sequence. Therefore, we propose a working model in which DNA bound-ArsR is different from its free form in metal specificity.