AAT Bioquest

What is luciferase?

Posted July 15, 2022


Luciferase is an enzyme that emits light in the presence of oxygen and a substrate – luciferin. It works by catalyzing the oxidation of luciferin, causing it to produce a visible glow. Several organisms use luciferase for bioluminescence, the most common of which is the firefly. Fireflies are able to illuminate because of a chemical reaction that gets triggered when the luciferin enzyme, which is the light-producing material in their body, gets oxidized and converted into oxyluciferin with the help of luciferase. Luciferase is also responsible for bioluminescence in cuttlefish, jellyfish, star fish and giant squid. Scientists have been able to harness the power of luciferase to devise reactions that facilitate the study of various biological processes including gene expression, cell viability and biomolecular bonding.   

Additional resources

Structure, Mechanism, and Mutation of Bacterial Luciferase


Amplite® Luciferase Reporter Gene Assay Kit *Bright Glow*