Engineering Genetically Encoded Nanosensors for Real-Time In Vivo Measurements of Citrate Concentrations

Cardiff University, United Kingdom
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 12/2011; 6(12):e28245. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028245
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Citrate is an intermediate in catabolic as well as biosynthetic pathways and is an important regulatory molecule in the control of glycolysis and lipid metabolism. Mass spectrometric and NMR based metabolomics allow measuring citrate concentrations, but only with limited spatial and temporal resolution. Methods are so far lacking to monitor citrate levels in real-time in-vivo. Here, we present a series of genetically encoded citrate sensors based on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). We screened databases for citrate-binding proteins and tested three candidates in vitro. The citrate binding domain of the Klebsiella pneumoniae histidine sensor kinase CitA, inserted between the FRET pair Venus/CFP, yielded a sensor highly specific for citrate. We optimized the peptide linkers to achieve maximal FRET change upon citrate binding. By modifying residues in the citrate binding pocket, we were able to construct seven sensors with different affinities spanning a concentration range of three orders of magnitude without losing specificity. In a first in vivo application we show that E. coli maintains the capacity to take up glucose or acetate within seconds even after long-term starvation.

Download full-text


Available from: Sabrina Reich, Oct 10, 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The human-pathogenic bacterium Salmonella enterica adjusts and adapts to different environments while attempting colonization. In the course of infection nutrient availabilities change drastically. New techniques, "-omics" data and subsequent integration by systems biology improve our understanding of these changes. We review changes in metabolism focusing on amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism. Furthermore, the adaptation process is associated with the activation of genes of the Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPIs). Anti-infective strategies have to take these insights into account and include metabolic and other strategies. Salmonella infections will remain a challenge for infection biology.
    Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 01/2015; 4:191. DOI:10.3389/fcimb.2014.00191 · 2.62 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Molecular activities are highly dynamic and can occur locally in subcellular domains or compartments. Neighboring cells in the same tissue can exist in different states. Therefore, quantitative information on the cellular and subcellular dynamics of ions, signaling molecules, and metabolites is critical for functional understanding of organisms. Mass spectrometry is generally used for monitoring ions and metabolites; however, its temporal and spatial resolution are limited. Fluorescent proteins have revolutionized many areas of biology-e.g., fluorescent proteins can report on gene expression or protein localization in real time-yet promoter-based reporters are often slow to report physiologically relevant changes such as calcium oscillations. Therefore, novel tools are required that can be deployed in specific cells and targeted to subcellular compartments in order to quantify target molecule dynamics directly. We require tools that can measure enzyme activities, protein dynamics, and biophysical processes (e.g., membrane potential or molecular tension) with subcellular resolution. Today, we have an extensive suite of tools at our disposal to address these challenges, including translocation sensors, fluorescence-intensity sensors, and Förster resonance energy transfer sensors. This review summarizes sensor design principles, provides a database of sensors for more than 70 different analytes/processes, and gives examples of applications in quantitative live cell imaging.
    Annual Review of Plant Biology 02/2012; 63:663-706. DOI:10.1146/annurev-arplant-042110-103745 · 18.90 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Malonyl-CoA is the rate-determining metabolite for long chain de novo fatty acid synthesis and allosterically inhibits the rate-setting step in long chain fatty acid β-oxidation. We developed a cell-based genetically encoded biosensor based on the malonyl-CoA responsive Bacillus subtilis transcriptional repressor, FapR, for living mammalian cells. Here, we show that fluctuations in malonyl-CoA, in mammalian cells, can regulate the transcription of a FapR-based malonyl-CoA biosensor. The biosensor reflects changes in malonyl-CoA flux regulated by malonyl-CoA decarboxylase and AMP-activated protein kinase in a concentration-dependent manner. To gain further insight into the regulatory mechanisms that affect fatty acid metabolism, we used the malonyl-CoA sensor to screen and identify several kinases. LIMK1 was identified and its expression was shown to alter both fatty acid synthesis and oxidation rates. This simple genetically encoded biosensor can be used to study the metabolic properties of live mammalian cells and enable screens for novel metabolic regulators.
    Chemistry & biology 10/2012; 19(10):1333-9. DOI:10.1016/j.chembiol.2012.08.018 · 6.59 Impact Factor