Yeast-based biosensors: Design and applications

Adebola Adeniran, Michael Sherer, Keith E.J. Tyo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Yeast-based biosensing (YBB) is an exciting research area, as many studies have demonstrated the use of yeasts to accurately detect specific molecules. Biosensors incorporating various yeasts have been reported to detect an incredibly large range of molecules including but not limited to odorants, metals, intracellular metabolites, carcinogens, lactate, alcohols, and sugars. We review the detection strategies available for different types of analytes, as well as the wide range of output methods that have been incorporated with yeast biosensors. We group biosensors into two categories: those that are dependent upon transcription of a gene to report the detection of a desired molecule and those that are independent of this reporting mechanism. Transcription-dependent biosensors frequently depend on heterologous expression of sensing elements from non-yeast organisms, a strategy that has greatly expanded the range of molecules available for detection by YBBs. Transcription-independent biosensors circumvent the problem of sensing difficult-to-detect analytes by instead relying on yeast metabolism to generate easily detected molecules when the analyte is present. The use of yeast as the sensing element in biosensors has proven to be successful and continues to hold great promise for a variety of applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12203
JournalFEMS yeast research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Biosensing
  • Environmental sensing
  • Receptors
  • Synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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