IJMS, Vol. 23, Pages 14936: Ratiometric Zinc Biosensor Based on Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer: Trace Metal Ion Determination with Tunable Response (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Determination of metal ions such as zinc in solution remains an important task in analytical and biological chemistry. We describe a novel zinc ion biosensing approach using a carbonic anhydrase–Oplophorus luciferase fusion protein that employs bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) to transduce the level of free zinc as a ratio of emission intensities in the blue and orange portions of the spectrum. In addition to high sensitivity (below nanomolar levels) and selectivity, this approach allows both quantitative determination of “free” zinc ion (also termed “mobile” or “labile”) using bioluminescence ratios and determination of the presence of the ion above a threshold simply by the change in color of bioluminescence, without an instrument. The carbonic anhydrase metal ion sensing platform offers well-established flexibility in sensitivity, selectivity, and response kinetics. Finally, bioluminescence labeling has proven an effective approach for molecular imaging in vivo since no exciting light is required; the expressible nature of this sensor offers the prospect of imaging zinc fluxes in vivo.