Whole-cell sensors for arsenite detection have been developed exclusively based on the natural arsenite (As(III)) sensory protein ArsR for arsenic metabolism. This study reports that the quorum-sensing LuxR/Plux system from Vibrio fischeri, which is completely unrelated to arsenic metabolism, responds to As(III) in a dose-dependent manner. Due to as many as 9 cysteine residues, which has a high binding affinity with As(III), LuxR underwent As(III)-induced insoluble form, thereby reducing its effective cellular concentration. Accordingly, the expression level of green fluorescent protein under the control of Plux gradually decreased with increasing As(III) concentration in the medium. This is a novel As(III)-detection system that has never been proposed before, with a unique ON-to-OFF transfer function.
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