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Sci Adv. 2017 Apr 26;3(4):e1602847. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1602847. eCollection 2017 Apr.

Mechanism and color modulation of fungal bioluminescence.

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Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Miklukho-Maklaya 16/10, Moscow 117997, Russia.
Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Ostrovitianov 1, Moscow 117997, Russia.
Institute of Biophysics Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS), Federal Research Center "Krasnoyarsk Science Center SB RAS," Akademgorodok, Krasnoyarsk 660036, Russia.
Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 05508-900, Brazil.
Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.
Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 05508-000, Brazil.
Departamento de Química Fundamental, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 05508-000, Brazil.
Departamento de Oceanografia Física, Química e Geológica, Instituto Oceanográfico, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-120, Brazil.
Department of Environmental Biology, Chubu University, Kasugai 487-8501, Japan.


Bioluminescent fungi are spread throughout the globe, but details on their mechanism of light emission are still scarce. Usually, the process involves three key components: an oxidizable luciferin substrate, a luciferase enzyme, and a light emitter, typically oxidized luciferin, and called oxyluciferin. We report the structure of fungal oxyluciferin, investigate the mechanism of fungal bioluminescence, and describe the use of simple synthetic α-pyrones as luciferins to produce multicolor enzymatic chemiluminescence. A high-energy endoperoxide is proposed as an intermediate of the oxidation of the native luciferin to the oxyluciferin, which is a pyruvic acid adduct of caffeic acid. Luciferase promiscuity allows the use of simple α-pyrones as chemiluminescent substrates.


CIEEL; Neonothopanus; alpha-pyrone; chemiluminescence; endoperoxide; enzyme promiscuity; hispidin; luciferase; luciferin; photochemistry

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