Image of the Month
Rich Whitworth |
Giving Luciferase the Green Light
Luciferases catalyze bioluminescence reactions in insects such as glow-worms and fireflies – and have been adopted as useful tools by the bioanalytical community. Different species emit a range of colors from green to red – but “the structural determinants and mechanisms of bioluminescence colors and pH sensitivity remain enigmatic,” say researchers from the Federal University of Sao Paolo (1). Using site-directed mutagenesis of luciferase in three families of bioluminescent beetle, the team was able to dig deeper into the role of two amino acids in the catalytic process.
Credit: Robert Sisson/National Geographic Creative
1. V Viviani et al, “Glu311 and Arg337 Stabilize a Closed Active-site Conformation and Provide a Critical Catalytic Base and Countercation for Green Bioluminescence in Beetle Luciferases”, Biochem, 55, 4764-4776 (2016).
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