Research ArticleBIOCHEMISTRY

Mechanism and color modulation of fungal bioluminescence

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Science Advances  26 Apr 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 4, e1602847
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602847

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Abstract

Bioluminescent fungi are spread throughout the globe, but details on their mechanism of light emission are still scarce. Usually, the process involves three key components: an oxidizable luciferin substrate, a luciferase enzyme, and a light emitter, typically oxidized luciferin, and called oxyluciferin. We report the structure of fungal oxyluciferin, investigate the mechanism of fungal bioluminescence, and describe the use of simple synthetic α-pyrones as luciferins to produce multicolor enzymatic chemiluminescence. A high-energy endoperoxide is proposed as an intermediate of the oxidation of the native luciferin to the oxyluciferin, which is a pyruvic acid adduct of caffeic acid. Luciferase promiscuity allows the use of simple α-pyrones as chemiluminescent substrates.

Keywords
  • Neonothopanus
  • CIEEL
  • chemiluminescence
  • endoperoxide
  • hispidin
  • photochemistry
  • luciferase
  • luciferin
  • alpha-pyrone
  • enzyme promiscuity

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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