Complementary DNA coding click beetle luciferases can elicit bioluminescence of different colors

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Science  12 May 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4905, pp. 700-702
DOI: 10.1126/science.2655091


Eleven complementary DNA (cDNA) clones were generated from messenger RNA isolated from abdominal light organs of the bioluminescent click beetle, Pyrophorus plagiophthalamus. When expressed in Escherichia coli, these clones can elicit bioluminescence that is readily visible. The clones code for luciferases of four types, distinguished by the colors of bioluminescence they catalyze: green (546 nanometers), yellow-green (560 nanometers), yellow (578 nanometers), and orange (593 nanometers). The amino acid sequences of the different luciferases are 95 to 99 percent identical with each other, but are only 48 percent identical with the sequence of firefly luciferase (Photinus pyralis). Because of the different colors, these clones may be useful in experiments in which multiple reporter genes are needed.

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