Thursday, May 10, 2007

Glow in the dark terrorists

A recent paper in Nature Chemical Biology (arm and leg subscription required) describes a engineered yeast strain engineered to sniff out TNT. First they had to clone many G protein signalling components into a yeast strain such that mammalian olfactory receptor signalling functioned. Then they screened a library of cDNAs from olfactory receptors to obtain a rat olfactory receptor that responds to TNT. This signaling pathway then initiated the expression of green fluorescent protein, thus the yeast glowed green when in the presence of trace amounts of TNT and an awesome biosensor is born. Great work from Dr. Danny Dhanasekaran at Temple University School of Medicine.