BADAN-conjugated β-lactamases as biosensors for β-lactam antibiotic detection

Ho Wah Au, Man Wah Tsang, Yu Wai Chen, Pui Kin So, Kwok Yin Wong (Corresponding Author), Yun Chung Leung (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


β-Lactam antibiotic detection has significant implications in food safety control, environmental monitoring and pharmacokinetics study. Here, we report the development of two BADAN-conjugated β-lactamases, E166Cb and E166Cb/N170Q, as sensitive biosensors for β-lactam antibiotic detection. These biosensors were constructed by coupling an environment-sensitive BADAN probe onto location 166 at the active site of the PenP β-lactamase E166C and E166C/N170Q mutants. They gave fluorescence turn-on signals in response to β-lactam antibiotics. Molecular dynamics simulation of E166Cb suggested that the turn-on signal might be attributed to a polarity change of the microenvironment of BADAN and the removal of the fluorescence quenching effect on BADAN exerted by a nearby Tyr-105 upon the antibiotic binding. In the detection of four β-lactams (penicillin G, penicillin V, cefotaxime and moxalactam), both E166Cb and E166Cb/N170Q delivered signal outputs in an antibiotic-concentration dependent manner with a dynamic range spanning from 10 nM to 1 μM. Compared to E166Cb, E166Cb/N170Q generally exhibited more stable signals owing to its higher deficiency in hydrolyzing the antibiotic analyte. The overall biosensor performance of E166Cb and E166Cb/N170Q was comparable to that of their respective fluorescein-modified counterparts, E166Cf and E166Cf/N170Q. But comparatively, the BADAN-conjugated enzymes showed a higher sensitivity, displayed a faster response in detecting moxalactam and a more stable fluorescence signals towards penicillin G. This study illustrates the potential of BADAN-conjugated β-lactamases as biosensing devices for β-lactam antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0241594
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10 October
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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