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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2008 Feb;7(2):218-27. doi: 10.1039/b712895a. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

Interaction of firefly luciferase with substrates and their analogs: a study using fluorescence spectroscopy methods.

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  • 1Chemistry Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119991, Russia.


The results of the author's laboratory on the interaction of Luciola mingrelica firefly luciferase with substrates and their analogs using both steady-state and time resolved fluorescence are reviewed. The contribution of fluorescence of Trp and Tyr residues of the protein to its intrinsic fluorescence spectrum was estimated. Studies of quenching of Trp and Tyr fluorescence by luciferin and ATP allowed one to determine binding constants of the luciferase with substrates and to show that the binding of one substrate to the luciferase decreases the affinity of the enzyme for the other one. Fluorescence of oxyluciferin and its analogs (dimethyl- and monomethyloxyluciferins) was shown to be a good model of native firefly bioluminescence. A comparison of the fluorescence spectra of oxyluciferin and its analogs in aqueous solutions and in the presence of the luciferase revealed specific and nonspecific effects of the microenvironment on the equilibrium between different ionic forms of oxyluciferin. An approach based on photo-physical concepts of the correlation between luminescence spectra and structure of the emitter and its microenvironment was proposed and this approach was used to analyze bioluminescence spectra of wild-type and mutant luciferases.

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