Development and application of bioluminescent Caenorhabditis elegans as multicellular eukaryotic biosensors

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We describe a novel approach to assess toxicity to the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that relies on the ability of firefly luciferase to report on endogenous ATP levels. We have constructed bioluminescent C, elegans with the luc gene under control of a constitutive promoter, Light reduction was observed in response to increasing temperature, concentrations of copper, lead and 3,5-dichlorophenol, This was due to increased mortality coupled with decreased metabolic activity in the surviving animals. The light emitted by the transgenic nematodes gave a rapid, real-time indication of metabolic status. This forms the basis of rapid and biologically relevant toxicity tests, (C) 2001 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-39
Number of pages3
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1
Early online date7 Mar 2001
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2001


  • firefly luciferase
  • bioluminescence
  • eukaryotic biosensor
  • toxicology
  • ATP
  • caenorhabditis elegans
  • soil toxicity test
  • ion characteristics
  • metal-ions
  • nematode
  • gene
  • stress
  • expression
  • strains
  • LC50

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