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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Dec 18;390(3):684-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.10.028. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Biosynthesis of coelenterazine in the deep-sea copepod, Metridia pacifica.

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Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-860, Japan.


Coelenterazine is an imidazopyrazinone compound (3,7-dihydroimidazopyrazin-3-one structure) that is widely distributed in marine organisms and used as a luciferin for various bioluminescence reactions. We have used electrospray ionization-ion trap-mass spectrometry to investigate whether the deep-sea luminous copepod Metridia pacifica is able to synthesize coelenterazine. By feeding experiments using deuterium labeled amino acids of l-tyrosine and l-phenylalanine, we have shown that coelenterazine can be synthesized from two molecules of l-tyrosine and one molecule of l-phenylalanine in M. pacifica. This is the first demonstration that coelenterazine is biosynthesized from free l-amino acids in a marine organism.

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