Luciferin/Luciferase Engineering (#410)

The process and mechanism of bioluminescence has fascinated humans since the ancient Greeks. The advent of genetic engineering enabled efforts to change the optical properties of the luminescent proteins responsible for this phenomenon. Most luminescent proteins include or utilize an organic chromophore that is actually responsible for the emission, and in many cases changes to this chromophore have been made to achieve a desirable, modified wavelength. This principle had not extended until recently to the firefly luciferin/luciferase system, despite the fact that firefly luciferase is in the top 5 of reporter gene systems and has been heavily commercialized. Structurally variant luciferase substrates, synthetic analogs of D-luciferin, are being examined around the world. Methodologies based on in vivo assembly of D-luciferin from its component parts have taken the field in a new direction. At this time, it is appropriate for the workers in the field to gather to compare notes on what is working and how it is working. This research can not only provide technological advances in topics such as biomedical imaging, it should increase the fundamental understanding of the means by which bioluminescence arises, an intrinsically chemical process. Recent progress in this topic from Japan, China, and the US will be presented. Confirmed invited speakers include: Jennifer Prescher, UC-Irvine; Christopher Chang, UC-Berkeley; Stephen Miller, UMass Medical School; Y. Ohmiya, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Osaka; Hiroshi Ueda, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Takashi Hirano, University of Electro-Communications; Wei Guo, Shanxi University.
Last update: Dec 28, 2015