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Manuscript on semi-rational biosensor engineering published in Nature Communications

Transcriptional biosensors attract a lot of attention as they allow the screening of vast libraries when used in combination with fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). However, broad ligand specificity of transcriptional regulators often prohibits the development of such ultra-high-throughput screens.

The SynCell-group followed a semi-rational engineering approach using a FACS-based screening/counterscreening strategy to generate an L-lysine insensitive LysG-based biosensor. Subsequently, this biosensor was used to isolate L-histidine-producing strains by FACS.

This study, showing that transcriptional regulators can be engineered towards a more focused ligand spectrum to expand the scope of application of such metabolite sensors is part of the ERC Starting grant project “CUSTOM-SENSE” (grant no. 638718) of Prof. Dr. Jan Marienhagen and is now published in Nature Communications.


Della Corte D., van Beek H.L., Syberg F., Schallmey M., Tobola F., Cormann K.U., Schlicker C., Baumann P.T., Krumbach K., Sokolowsky S., Morris C.J., Grünberger A., Hofmann E., Schröder G.F, Marienhagen J.

Engineering and application of a biosensor with focused ligand specificity.

Nature Communications 11: 4851.

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Prof. Dr. Jan Marienhagen
Institute of Bio- and Geosciences
IBG-1: Biotechnology
Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH
52425 Juelich, Germany
Tel: + 49 2461 61 2843
Web: "Synthetic Cell Factories"-Group