A New Reporter Gene Technology: Opportunities and Perspectives

Document Type : Review Paper


1 Department of Microorganisms, Biosafety and Gene Bank, Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII), Mahdasht Road, 21525-1897, Karaj, I.R. Iran

2 Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian, Academy of Sciences, Gubkina St., 3 GSP-1, 119991 Moscow, Russia


The paper summarizes the current status of the reporter gene technology and their basics. Reporter gene technology is widely used to monitor cellular events associated with gene expression and signal transduction. Based upon the splicing of transcriptional control elements to a variety of reporter genes, it “reports” the effects of a cascade of signaling events on gene expression inside cells. The principal advantage of these assays is their high sensitivity, reliability, convenience and adaptability to large scale measurements.
The reporter gene systems β-galactosidase (LacZ), luciferases (LUC), β-glucoronidase (GUS),
green fluorescent protein (GFP) and GFP-like proteins, widely used presently, are compared. The potentialities
of a new reporter system, based on thermostable lichenase (β-1, 3-1, 4-gluconases) of Clostridium thermocellum are described in detail. Advantages and disadvantages of the used reporter systems, and also the opportunities for development and application of bifunctional reporter systems are considered. Perspectives of reporter genes for studying gene expression regulation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic  organisms are elucidated.