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Anal Biochem. 2005 Oct 1;345(1):140-8.

Red- and green-emitting firefly luciferase mutants for bioluminescent reporter applications.

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Department of Chemistry, Connecticut College, New London, CT 06320, USA.


Light emission from the North American firefly Photinus pyralis, which emits yellow-green (557-nm) light, is widely believed to be the most efficient bioluminescence system known, making this luciferase an excellent tool for monitoring gene expression. Here, we present studies leading to the production of a set of red- and green-emitting luciferase mutants with bioluminescent properties suitable for expanding the use of the P. pyralis system to dual-color reporter assays, biosensor measurements with internal controls, and imaging techniques. Using a combination of mutagenesis methods, we determined that the Ser284Thr mutation was sufficient to create an excellent red-emitting luciferase with a bioluminescence maximum of 615 nm, a narrow emission bandwidth, and favorable kinetic properties. Also, we developed a luciferase, containing the changes Val241Ile, Gly246Ala, and Phe250Ser, whose emission maximum was blue-shifted to 549 nm, providing a set of enzymes whose bioluminescence maxima were separated by 66 nm. Model studies demonstrated that in assays using a set of optical filters, the luciferases could be detected at the attomole level and seven orders of magnitude higher. In addition, in the presence of the Ser284Thr enzyme serving as a control, green light emission could be measured over a 10,000-fold range. The results presented here with the P. pyralis mutants provide evidence that simultaneous multiple analyte assay development is feasible with these novel proteins that require only a single substrate.

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