Mechanism and color modulation of fungal bioluminescence.

Research paper by Zinaida M ZM Kaskova, Felipe A FA Dörr, Valentin N VN Petushkov, Konstantin V KV Purtov, Aleksandra S AS Tsarkova, Natalja S NS Rodionova, Konstantin S KS Mineev, Elena B EB Guglya, Alexey A Kotlobay, Nadezhda S NS Baleeva, Mikhail S MS Baranov, Alexander S AS Arseniev, Josef I JI Gitelson, Sergey S Lukyanov, Yoshiki Y Suzuki, et al.

Indexed on: 17 May '17Published on: 17 May '17Published in: Science advances


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.