Cypridina bioluminescence: light-emitting oxyluciferin-luciferase complex.

Research paper by O O Shimomura, F H FH Johnson, T T Masugi

Indexed on: 13 Jun '69Published on: 13 Jun '69Published in: Science


Fluorescence of Cypridina oxyluciferin is greatly enhanced when it is bound to luciferase; the spectrum is thereby shifted, so that it corresponds precisely to the emission spectrum characteristic of the bioluminescentoxidation of luciferin. Thus the oxyluciferin-luciferase complex is the lightemitter. The binding is equimolar, with dissociation constant K(D) equal to 3x 10(-7) mole per liter. The molecular weight of the luciferase, according to three different methods, is between 52,000 and 57,000; molecular activities of luciferase for the bioluminescence reaction and for the hydrolysis of oxy-luciferin are 1600 and 2 per minute, respectively.