In vivo biosensors: mechanisms, development, and applications

Shuobo Shi, Ee Lui Ang, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In vivo biosensors can recognize and respond to specific cellular stimuli. In recent years, biosensors have been increasingly used in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, because they can be implemented in synthetic circuits to control the expression of reporter genes in response to specific cellular stimuli, such as a certain metabolite or a change in pH. There are many types of natural sensing devices, which can be generally divided into two main categories: protein-based and nucleic acid-based. Both can be obtained either by directly mining from natural genetic components or by engineering the existing genetic components for novel specificity or improved characteristics. A wide range of new technologies have enabled rapid engineering and discovery of new biosensors, which are paving the way for a new era of biotechnological progress. Here, we review recent advances in the design, optimization, and applications of in vivo biosensors in the field of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-516
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Biosensor
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Metabolite sensing
  • Synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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