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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Oct 15;89(20):9584-7.

Imaging of luciferase secretion from transformed Chinese hamster ovary cells.

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Osaka Bioscience Institute, Japan.


The blue luminescence characteristic of the marine ostracod crustacean Vargula hilgendorfii is from a simple, but highly specific, enzyme-substrate reaction. Light is emitted by the oxidation of Vargula luciferin (substrate) by molecular oxygen, a reaction catalyzed by luciferase. Stable transformants of Chinese hamster ovary cells carrying the Vargula luciferase gene secreted luciferase from discrete sites on the cell surface, and this secretion could be monitored in real time by the bioluminescence produced by the secreted luciferase in the presence of Vargula luciferin by using an image-intensifying technique. Addition of anti-Vargula luciferase IgG to the luminescing cells almost completely extinguished the luminescence, confirming that Vargula luciferase caused the luminescence.

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