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Science 301 (5630): 213-215

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A B Cell-Based Sensor for Rapid Identification of Pathogens

Todd H. Rider,1* Martha S. Petrovick,1 Frances E. Nargi,1 James D. Harper,1 Eric D. Schwoebel,1 Richard H. Mathews,1 David J. Blanchard,1 Laura T. Bortolin,1 Albert M. Young,1 Jianzhu Chen,2 Mark A. Hollis1

Abstract: We report the use of genetically engineered cells in a pathogen identification sensor. This sensor uses B lymphocytes that have been engineered to emit light within seconds of exposure to specific bacteria and viruses. We demonstrated rapid screening of relevant samples and identification of a variety of pathogens at very low levels. Because of its speed, sensitivity, and specificity, this pathogen identification technology could prove useful for medical diagnostics, biowarfare defense, food- and water-quality monitoring, and other applications.

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA 02420, USA. 2 Center for Cancer Research and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: thor{at}

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