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Special Issue "Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Biosensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ferdinando Febbraio
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, National Research Council of Italy, Italy
Interests: protein structure/function; fluorescence sensors; enzyme immobilization; bioreactors; biosensors; pesticide sensing
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Marco Chino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy
Interests: protein-protein interactions; colorimetric immunosensors; bioinorganic oxidations; protein design; protein chromatography; mass spectrometry
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof.Dr. Rabeay Hassan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Materials Sciences, Zewail City of Science and Technology, October Gardens, 6th of October City, 12578, Giza, Egypt.
Interests: Microbial Sensors; Nanobiosensors; Bioelectrochemical Systems; Nanodevice; Diagnostics

Special Issue Information

Nature masters the art of sensing by the combination of different optical, thermal, chemical, and mechanical external stimuli. In general, each one of them is recognized by specific receptor and transducer molecules that act as antennas in delineating and communicating with the environment. The development of bio-inspired sensors (chemical and biochemical) give us the opportunity to learn this lesson, using such molecular tools (e.g., reporter enzymes, fluorescent and chemiluminescent proteins, antibodies, DNA-binding proteins, aptamers) and viable cells and microorganisms for specific tasks.

Recently, a wide range of applications have been recognized in which biosensing plays a key role, as it enables fast, reliable, and continuous detection in point-of-care diagnostics, persistent organic pollutant monitoring, intracellular sensing, and futuristic fitness monitoring and wearable chemical sensors. Chemical and biological markers may be found in different matrices, such as tears, saliva, sweat, ISF, blood, and exhaled breath, as well as sea and tap water, soil, and atmosphere.

In this Special Issue, we focus our attention on recent advances in optical, fluorescent, and luminescent biosensors. This class of devices may be either coupled to electrochemistry or material science in order to improve their performance, leading to electrochemiluminescence sensors, active/smart surfaces, and nano-sized stand-alone sensors. Original manuscripts as well as reviews of the current state of the art are welcome for submission.

Dr. Ferdinando Febbraio
Dr. Marco Chino
Prof. Rabeay Hassan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • fluorescent sensors
  • colorimetric sensors
  • luminescent sensors
  • microbial sensors
  • electrochemiluminescence
  • nanodevice
  • protein engineering
  • synthetic biology
  • diagnostics
  • biosensors
  • complex matrix

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Structurally Distorted Split GFP Fluorescent Sensors for Cell-Based Detection of Viral Proteolytic Activity
Sensors 2021, 21(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21010024 - 23 Dec 2020
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Cell-based assays are essential for virus functional characterization in fundamental and applied research. Overcoming the limitations of virus-labelling strategies while allowing functional assessment of critical viral enzymes, virus-induced cell-based biosensors constitute a powerful approach. Herein, we designed and characterized different cell-based switch-on split [...] Read more.
Cell-based assays are essential for virus functional characterization in fundamental and applied research. Overcoming the limitations of virus-labelling strategies while allowing functional assessment of critical viral enzymes, virus-induced cell-based biosensors constitute a powerful approach. Herein, we designed and characterized different cell-based switch-on split GFP sensors reporting viral proteolytic activity and virus infection. Crucial to these sensors is the effective—yet reversible—fluorescence off-state, through protein distortion. For that, single (protein embedment or intein-mediated cyclization) or dual (coiled-coils) distortion schemes prevent split GFP self-assembly, until virus-promoted proteolysis of a cleavable sequence. All strategies showed their applicability in detecting viral proteolysis, although with different efficiencies depending on the protease. While for tobacco etch virus protease the best performing sensor was based on coiled-coils (signal-to-noise ratio, SNR, 97), for adenovirus and lentivirus proteases it was based on GFP11 cyclization (SNR 3.5) or GFP11 embedment distortion (SNR 6.0), respectively. When stably expressed, the sensors allowed live cell biosensing of adenovirus infection, with sensor fluorescence activation 24 h post-infection. The structural distortions herein studied are highly valuable in the development of cellular biosensing platforms. Additionally highlighted, selection of the best performing strategy is highly dependent on the unique properties of each viral protease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Gaussia Luciferase as a Reporter for Quorum Sensing in Staphylococcus aureus
Sensors 2020, 20(15), 4305; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20154305 - 01 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Gaussia luciferase (GLuc) is a secreted protein with significant potential for use as a reporter of gene expression in bacterial pathogenicity studies. To date there are relatively few examples of its use in bacteriology. In this study we show that GLuc can be [...] Read more.
Gaussia luciferase (GLuc) is a secreted protein with significant potential for use as a reporter of gene expression in bacterial pathogenicity studies. To date there are relatively few examples of its use in bacteriology. In this study we show that GLuc can be functionally expressed in the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus and furthermore show that it can be used as a biosensor for the agr quorum sensing (QS) system which employs autoinducing peptides to control virulence. GLuc was linked to the P3 promoter of the S. aureusagr operon. Biosensor strains were validated by evaluation of chemical agent-mediated activation and inhibition of agr. Use of GLuc enabled quantitative assessment of agr activity. This demonstrates the utility of Gaussia luciferase for in vitro monitoring of agr activation and inhibition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Bioluminescent Ratiometric Indicator for Analysis of Water Hardness in Household Water
Sensors 2020, 20(11), 3164; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20113164 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1854
Abstract
Water hardness (WH) is a useful parameter for testing household water, such as drinking, cooking, and washing water. Many countries around the world use pipeline water in their houses, but there is a need to monitor the WH because hard water has a [...] Read more.
Water hardness (WH) is a useful parameter for testing household water, such as drinking, cooking, and washing water. Many countries around the world use pipeline water in their houses, but there is a need to monitor the WH because hard water has a negative impact on appliances. Currently, WH is often measured using chemical dye-based WH indicators, and these techniques require expensive equipment, and trained personnel. Therefore, a low-cost and simple measurement method has been desired. Here, we report LOTUS-W, which consists of a luciferase, Nanoluc, a yellow fluorescent protein Venus, and a Ca2+/Mg2+ detection domain of human centrin 3. The binding of Ca2+/Mg2+ to this indicator changes the conformation of human centrin 3, and induces bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) from Nanoluc to Venus, which changes its emission spectrum about 140%. The dissociation constants of LOTUS-W for Ca2+/Mg2+ are approximately several mM, making it suitable for measuring WH in the household water. With this indicator in combination with a smartphone, we have demonstrated that it is possible to evaluate WH easily and quickly. This novel indicator has the potential to be used for measuring not only household water but also water used in the food industry, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Microbial Electrochemical Systems: Principles, Construction and Biosensing Applications
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041279 - 11 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 584
Abstract
Microbial electrochemical systems are a fast emerging technology that use microorganisms to harvest the chemical energy from bioorganic materials to produce electrical power. Due to their flexibility and the wide variety of materials that can be used as a source, these devices show [...] Read more.
Microbial electrochemical systems are a fast emerging technology that use microorganisms to harvest the chemical energy from bioorganic materials to produce electrical power. Due to their flexibility and the wide variety of materials that can be used as a source, these devices show promise for applications in many fields including energy, environment and sensing. Microbial electrochemical systems rely on the integration of microbial cells, bioelectrochemistry, material science and electrochemical technologies to achieve effective conversion of the chemical energy stored in organic materials into electrical power. Therefore, the interaction between microorganisms and electrodes and their operation at physiological important potentials are critical for their development. This article provides an overview of the principles and applications of microbial electrochemical systems, their development status and potential for implementation in the biosensing field. It also provides a discussion of the recent developments in the selection of electrode materials to improve electron transfer using nanomaterials along with challenges for achieving practical implementation, and examples of applications in the biosensing field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors)
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Other

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Open AccessTechnical Note
Development and Evaluation of a Quantitative Fluorescent Lateral Flow Immunoassay for Cystatin-C, a Renal Dysfunction Biomarker
Sensors 2021, 21(9), 3178; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21093178 - 03 May 2021
Viewed by 251
Abstract
The diagnosis, prognosis, and control of chronic kidney disease rely on an understanding of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The renal clearance of the cystatin-C is closely associated with the GFR. Cystatin-C is a more suitable GFR marker than the commonly used creatinine. [...] Read more.
The diagnosis, prognosis, and control of chronic kidney disease rely on an understanding of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The renal clearance of the cystatin-C is closely associated with the GFR. Cystatin-C is a more suitable GFR marker than the commonly used creatinine. General techniques for cystatin-C calculation, such as particle-enhanced turbidimetric and nephelometric assay, are time-consuming and tedious. Here, we propose a rapid, quantitative immunoassay for the detection of cystatin-C. A fluorescence-based lateral-flow kit was developed in a sandwich format by using a monoclonal antibody. A Linear calibration was obtained over the clinical diagnostic range of 0.023–32 µg/mL and the limit of detection (LOD) was 0.023 µg/mL and the limit of quantification (LOQ) was 0.029 µg/mL. Average recoveries from spiked urine samples ranged from 96–100% and the coefficient of variation was less than 4% for both intra and inter-day assays with excellent repeatability. With the comparison with an ELISA kit, the developed kit is highly sensitive, performs well over the detection range, provides repeatable results in a short time, and can easily be used at point-of-care (POC), making it an ideal candidate for rapid testing in early detection, community screening for renal function disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors)
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Open AccessLetter
Smartphone-Based Portable Bioluminescence Imaging System Enabling Observation at Various Scales from Whole Mouse Body to Organelle
Sensors 2020, 20(24), 7166; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20247166 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 859
Abstract
Current smartphones equipped with high-sensitivity and high-resolution sensors in the camera can respond to the needs of low-light imaging, streaming acquisition, targets of various scales, etc. Therefore, a smartphone has great potential as an imaging device even in the scientific field and has [...] Read more.
Current smartphones equipped with high-sensitivity and high-resolution sensors in the camera can respond to the needs of low-light imaging, streaming acquisition, targets of various scales, etc. Therefore, a smartphone has great potential as an imaging device even in the scientific field and has already been introduced into biomolecular imaging using fluorescence tags. However, owing to the necessity of an excitation light source, fluorescence methods impair its mobility. Bioluminescence does not require illumination; therefore, imaging with a smartphone camera is compact and requires minimal devices, thus making it suitable for personal and portable imaging devices. Here, we report smartphone-based methods to observe biological targets in various scales using bioluminescence. In particular, we demonstrate, for the first time, that bioluminescence can be observed in an organelle in a single living cell using a smartphone camera by attaching a detachable objective lens. Through capturing color changes with the camera, changes in the amount of target molecules was detected using bioluminescent indicators. The combination of bioluminescence and a mobile phone makes possible a compact imaging system without an external light source and expands the potential of portable devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors)
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Open AccessLetter
Use of an Artificial Miniaturized Enzyme in Hydrogen Peroxide Detection by Chemiluminescence
Sensors 2020, 20(13), 3793; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20133793 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1522
Abstract
Advanced oxidation processes represent a viable alternative in water reclamation for potable reuse. Sensing methods of hydrogen peroxide are, therefore, needed to test both process progress and final quality of the produced water. Several bio-based assays have been developed so far, mainly relying [...] Read more.
Advanced oxidation processes represent a viable alternative in water reclamation for potable reuse. Sensing methods of hydrogen peroxide are, therefore, needed to test both process progress and final quality of the produced water. Several bio-based assays have been developed so far, mainly relying on peroxidase enzymes, which have the advantage of being fast, efficient, reusable, and environmentally safe. However, their production/purification and, most of all, batch-to-batch consistency may inherently prevent their standardization. Here, we provide evidence that a synthetic de novo miniaturized designed heme-enzyme, namely Mimochrome VI*a, can be proficiently used in hydrogen peroxide assays. Furthermore, a fast and automated assay has been developed by using a lab-bench microplate reader. Under the best working conditions, the assay showed a linear response in the 10.0–120 μM range, together with a second linearity range between 120 and 500 μM for higher hydrogen peroxide concentrations. The detection limit was 4.6 μM and quantitation limits for the two datasets were 15.5 and 186 μM, respectively. In perspective, Mimochrome VI*a could be used as an active biological sensing unit in different sensor configurations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optical, Fluorescent and Luminescent Biosensors)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Calibration of Plate Reader Fluorescent Measurements
Authors: Jesús Andrés Picó Marco
Affiliation: Professor of Automatic Control, Universitat Politècnica de València
Abstract: Fluorescent proteins are widely used as activity reporters of target proteins expressed by engineered genetic circuits in cells. A plate reader is the instrument that provides bulk fluorescence measurements of cell cultures over a period of time. However, these measurements are expressed in arbitrary units, which hampers the comparison of results even if they are obtained in the same lab. One of the key steps towards findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) data and the standardization in Synthetic Biology is to make data easily usable and comparable. In this work, we propose a two-step protocol. The goal of the first step is to fit the unit conversion model, which transforms fluorescence measurements, provided in arbitrary units, to concentration units. The model calibration also accounts for the effect of the Gain parameter on the recorded data. The goal of the second step is to evaluate the quality of the measurement system (in terms of bias, linearity, repeatability and reproducibility) after the correction proposed in the first step. Thus, only if the measurement system is statistically reliable, our conversion model will be totally validated. Moreover, the measurement system analysis is used to estimate the uncertainty for new measures, establishing confidence intervals for the prediction of new data. This becomes crucial to evaluate the statistical feasibility and relevance of any procedure involving the acquisition of data with an inherent variability. All the functions used to build the model, to exploit it with new data and to perform the measurement system analysis, have been implemented in Matlab and are available in GitHub repository.

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