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Cloning and characterization of the cDNA for the Brazilian Cratomorphus distinctus larval firefly luciferase: similarities with European Lampyris noctiluca and Asiatic Pyrocoelia luciferases.

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Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual de São Paulo, Av. 24A, 1515, Bela Vista, Rio Claro, SP 13506-900, Brazil.


Studies on firefly (Lampyridae) luciferases have focused on nearctic species of Photinus and Photuris and Euroasiatic species of Lampyris, Luciola, Hotaria, and Pyrocoelia. Despite accounting for the greatest diversity of fireflies in the world, no molecular studies have been carried out on the highly diverse genera from the neotropical region. Here we report the luciferase cDNA cloning for the larva of the Brazilian firefly Cratomorphus distinctus. The cDNA has 1978 bp and codes for a 547-residue-long polypeptide. Noteworthy, sequence comparison as well as functional properties show the highest degree of similarity with Lampyris noctiluca (93%) and Pyrocoelia spp. (91%) luciferases, suggesting a close phylogenetic relationship despite the geographical distance separating these species. The bioluminescence emission spectrum peaks at 550 nm and, as expected, is sensitive to pH, shifting to 605 nm at pH 6. The kinetic properties of the recombinant luciferase were similar to those of other firefly luciferases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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