Dr. Stephen Miller Published "Firefly Luciferase Mutants Allow Substrate-Selective Bioluminescence Imaging in the Mouse Brain"


Bioluminescence imaging is a powerful approach for visualizing specific events occurring inside live mice. Animals can be made to glow in response to the expression of a gene, the activity of an enzyme, or the growth of a tumor. But bioluminescence requires the interaction of a luciferase enzyme with a small-molecule luciferin, and its scope has been limited by the mere handful of natural combinations. Herein, we show that mutants of firefly luciferase can discriminate between natural and synthetic substrates in the brains of live mice. When using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors to express luciferases in the brain, we found that mutant luciferases that are inactive or weakly active with d-luciferin can light up brightly when treated with the aminoluciferins CycLuc1 and CycLuc2 or their respective FAAH-sensitive luciferin amides. Further development of selective luciferases promises to expand the power of bioluminescence and allow multiple events to be imaged in the same live animal.

Full article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201511350/full

About Dr. Stephen Miller please visit Dr. Miller Lab Website