The glow is widely used as an assay for LUC expression, which acts as a "reporter" for the activity of any regulatory elements that control its expression. Luciferase is particularly useful as a reporter in living cells and organisms. LUC gene fusions provide a "window" on to the mechanisms that regulate the activity of specific genes, in specific, living cells. Our interest is in the mechanism of rhythmic regulation in higher plants: a rhythmically-expressed luciferase reporter is one of our principal tools. Images of bioluminescence from our CAB:LUC Arabidopsis plants are shown at the top of this page (the cotyledons of two seedlings) and on the front page (an older, rosette plant).
The LUC+ gene from Promega Corporation is an order of magnitude brighter in Arabidopsis and has no disadvantages in other species, so we now use this routinely. The protein is cytoplasmic, whereas the native LUC is peroxisomal.
Firefly Luciferase as a Reporter for Plant Gene Expression Studies. (Promega Notes, 1993)
Video Imaging of Regulated Firefly Luciferase Activity in Transgenic Plants (Promega Notes, 1994)
Luminometry for In Vivo and In Vitro Reporting of Firefly Luciferase (Promega Notes, 1993)
Michael White's Lab, Liverpool. (firefly luciferase as a reporter gene in mammalian cells)
Jeremy Tavaré's Lab, Bristol. (firefly luciferase as a reporter gene in mammalian cells)
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