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Identification and Characterization of a Luciferase Isotype in the Japanese Firefly, Luciola cruciata, Involving in the Dim Glow of Firefly Eggs

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posted on 28.12.2010, 00:00 authored by Yuichi Oba, Nanae Mori, Mayumi Yoshida, Satoshi Inouye
We isolated the cDNA of a luciferase isotype (LcLuc2) from the Japanese firefly, Luciola cruciata (Lampyridae, Coleoptera). The gene product of LcLuc2 (LcLuc2) showed 59% amino acid identity with firefly luciferase LcLuc1, which was previously identified in L. cruciata. The recombinant LcLuc2 showed both luminescence activity and fatty acyl-CoA synthetic activity comparable to those of LcLuc1. The spectral maxima of the luminescence by LcLuc1 and LcLuc2 were 554 and 543 nm, respectively. Reverse transcription−PCR analysis showed that the transcripts of LcLuc1 were abundant in the lanterns of larva, adult male, and adult female, whereas both LcLuc1 and LcLuc2 were expressed in eggs. The luminescence spectra of the lantern extracts from larva, adult male, and adult female were in good agreement with that of recombinant LcLuc1. On the other hand, the emission maximum of the extract from eggs was between those of LcLuc1 and LcLuc2. These results suggest that L. cruciata possesses two luciferases: LcLuc1 is responsible for the major luminescence in larva and adult, whereas LcLuc1 and LcLuc2 are responsible for the dim glow in firefly eggs.