Tuning into Pathogens

Science's STKE  15 Jul 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 191, pp. tw276-TW276
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.191.tw276

The need for rapid detection of pathogens, such as in clinical samples and in food, has acquired a new urgency with the threat of bioterrorism and the emergence of familiar and unfamiliar infectious diseases. Harnessing the exquisite capacity of B cells for pathogen recognition, Rider et al. created a biosensor, named CANARY, that detects low levels of viruses and bacteria in a variety of sample formats. Expression of the calcium-sensitive bioluminescent protein, aequorin, in a B cell line permitted a rapid and highly specific luminescent signal to be generated after pathogen-specific cross-linking of membrane antibodies.

T. H. Rider, M. S. Petrovick, F. E. Nargi, J. D. Harper, E. D. Schwoebel, R. H. Mathews, D. J. Blanchard, L. T. Bortolin, A. M. Young, J. Chen, M. A. Hollis, A B cell-based sensor for rapid identification of pathogens. Science 301, 213-215 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]