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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
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Disease relevance of Fireflies

  • Protein denaturation during heat shock and related stress. Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase and Photinus pyralis luciferase inactivation in mouse cells [1].
  • Strain PYAN-1T (T = type strain), which was isolated from a pupal gut of the firefly beetle Pyractonema angulata, and strains PIMN-1T and PIPN-2T, which were isolated from guts of adult Photinus marginalis and Photinus pyralis fireflies, respectively, were demonstrated to be sterol-requiring mollicutes [2].
  • The human adenocarcinoma cell line A549 was transformed with the Photinus pyralis luciferase gene under the control of the ICAM-1 gene 5'regulatory region and, subsequently, stably transfected with the human neurokinin 2 (NK2) receptor gene [3].

High impact information on Fireflies

  • The chemiluminescent oxidation of luciferin by the luciferase from the North American firefly Photinus pyralis was found to generate sufficiently intense and long-lived emission to induce antiviral activity of hypericin [4].
  • Previous work has shown that the firefly (Photinus pyralis) luciferase contains a C-terminal peroxisomal targeting signal consisting of the tripeptide Ser-Lys-Leu [5].
  • After intratracheal administration of adenoviral vectors expressing cIKK1 or cIKK2 to transgenic reporter mice that express Photinus luciferase under the control of an NF-kappaB-dependent promoter, we detected significantly increased luciferase activity over time (up to 96 h) [6].
  • The activity regenerating luciferin from the luminescent product oxyluciferin was found in the protein fraction of a lantern extract from Photinus pyralis [7].
  • We have prepared the adenylate of D-5,5-dimethylluciferin and shown that it is transformed into the putative emitter 5,5-dimethyloxyluciferin in bioluminescence reactions catalyzed by luciferases from Photinus pyralis and the green-emitting click beetle [8].

Biological context of Fireflies


Anatomical context of Fireflies


Associations of Fireflies with chemical compounds

  • The second step introduced the firefly (Photinus pyralis) luciferase gene into one of the stable tTA clones producing double transfectants expressing luciferase in the absence of tetracycline [15].
  • The guanidine-induced unfolding of firefly (Photinus pyralis) luciferase involves two inactive equilibrium intermediates and is freely reversible at low protein concentration and low temperature [16].
  • METHODS: Polyethylenimine (PEI)-based polyplexes and JetSI (a mixture of cationic lipids)-based lipoplexes were used to vectorise plasmid DNA encoding the firefly Photinus pyralis luciferase gene and picomolar amounts of siRNA directed against this gene [17].
  • A mutant of Photinus pyralis luciferase in which all four native cysteine residues are converted to serines retains about 10% of wild-type activity [18].
  • Firefly luciferase (Photinus pyralis) was fused with a histidine tag and a biotin carboxyl carrier protein (BCCP) domain at its amino terminus [19].

Gene context of Fireflies

  • In addition, we also applied a simultaneous bioluminescent enzyme immunoassay of pepsinogen I (PGI) and pepsinogen II (PGII) in which two kinds of biotinylated luciferase (Luciola lateralis) labelled as an enzyme producing yellow-green light (lambda(max) = 559 nm) and red light (lambda(max) = 607 nm) were used [20].
  • cDNA coding for the luciferase in the firefly Photinus pyralis was cloned using pcDV1 primer and Honjo linker containing SP6 RNA polymerase promoter [21].
  • In the presence of ATP, luciferin (LH2), Mg2+ and pyrophosphatase, the firefly (Photinus pyralis) luciferase synthesizes diadenosine 5',5"'-P1,P4-tetraphosphate (Ap4A) through formation of the E-LH2-AMP complex and transfer of AMP to ATP [22].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of Fireflies


  1. Protein denaturation during heat shock and related stress. Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase and Photinus pyralis luciferase inactivation in mouse cells. Nguyen, V.T., Morange, M., Bensaude, O. J. Biol. Chem. (1989) [Pubmed]
  2. Mycoplasma somnilux sp. nov., Mycoplasma luminosum sp. nov., and Mycoplasma lucivorax sp. nov., new sterol-requiring mollicutes from firefly beetles (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). Williamson, D.L., Tully, J.G., Rose, D.L., Hackett, K.J., Henegar, R., Carle, P., Bové, J.M., Colflesh, D.E., Whitcomb, R.F. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. (1990) [Pubmed]
  3. Establishment of a cellular assay system for G protein-linked receptors: coupling of human NK2 and 5-HT2 receptors to phospholipase C activates a luciferase reporter gene. Weyer, U., Schäfer, R., Himmler, A., Mayer, S.K., Bürger, E., Czernilofsky, A.P., Stratowa, C. Recept. Channels (1993) [Pubmed]
  4. Chemiluminescent activation of the antiviral activity of hypericin: a molecular flashlight. Carpenter, S., Fehr, M.J., Kraus, G.A., Petrich, J.W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1994) [Pubmed]
  5. Transport of microinjected proteins into peroxisomes of mammalian cells: inability of Zellweger cell lines to import proteins with the SKL tripeptide peroxisomal targeting signal. Walton, P.A., Gould, S.J., Feramisco, J.R., Subramani, S. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1992) [Pubmed]
  6. Selective I kappa B kinase expression in airway epithelium generates neutrophilic lung inflammation. Sadikot, R.T., Han, W., Everhart, M.B., Zoia, O., Peebles, R.S., Jansen, E.D., Yull, F.E., Christman, J.W., Blackwell, T.S. J. Immunol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  7. Oxyluciferin, a luminescence product of firefly luciferase, is enzymatically regenerated into luciferin. Gomi, K., Kajiyama, N. J. Biol. Chem. (2001) [Pubmed]
  8. Yellow-green and red firefly bioluminescence from 5,5-dimethyloxyluciferin. Branchini, B.R., Murtiashaw, M.H., Magyar, R.A., Portier, N.C., Ruggiero, M.C., Stroh, J.G. J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2002) [Pubmed]
  9. Residues within transmembrane helices 2 and 5 of the human gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor contribute to agonist and antagonist binding. Hoffmann, S.H., ter Laak, T., Kühne, R., Reiländer, H., Beckers, T. Mol. Endocrinol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  10. Marked enhancement of direct respiratory tissue transfection by aurintricarboxylic acid. Glasspool-Malone, J., Malone, R.W. Hum. Gene Ther. (1999) [Pubmed]
  11. Thermostabilization of firefly luciferase by a single amino acid substitution at position 217. Kajiyama, N., Nakano, E. Biochemistry (1993) [Pubmed]
  12. Detection of receptor ligands by monitoring selective stabilization of a Renilla luciferase-tagged, constitutively active mutant, G-protein-coupled receptor. Ramsay, D., Bevan, N., Rees, S., Milligan, G. Br. J. Pharmacol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  13. Isolation and N-terminal amino acid sequence of an octopamine ligand binding protein. Nathanson, J.A., Kantham, L., Hunnicutt, E.J. FEBS Lett. (1989) [Pubmed]
  14. DNA-binding transferrin conjugates as functional gene-delivery agents: synthesis by linkage of polylysine or ethidium homodimer to the transferrin carbohydrate moiety. Wagner, E., Cotten, M., Mechtler, K., Kirlappos, H., Birnstiel, M.L. Bioconjug. Chem. (1991) [Pubmed]
  15. A model system for studying postnatal myogenesis with tetracycline-responsive, genetically engineered clonal myoblasts in vitro and in vivo. Link, D., Irintchev, A., Knauf, U., Wernig, A., Starzinski-Powitz, A. Exp. Cell Res. (2001) [Pubmed]
  16. Folding of firefly (Photinus pyralis) luciferase: aggregation and reactivation of unfolding intermediates. Herbst, R., Gast, K., Seckler, R. Biochemistry (1998) [Pubmed]
  17. Lipid-mediated siRNA delivery down-regulates exogenous gene expression in the mouse brain at picomolar levels. Hassani, Z., Lemkine, G.F., Erbacher, P., Palmier, K., Alfama, G., Giovannangeli, C., Behr, J.P., Demeneix, B.A. The journal of gene medicine. (2005) [Pubmed]
  18. A cysteine-free firefly luciferase retains luminescence activity. Kumita, J.R., Jain, L., Safroneeva, E., Woolley, G.A. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2000) [Pubmed]
  19. Specific immobilization of firefly luciferase through a biotin carboxyl carrier protein domain. Wang, C.Y., Hitz, S., Andrade, J.D., Stewart, R.J. Anal. Biochem. (1997) [Pubmed]
  20. Detection of luciferase having two kinds of luminescent colour based on optical filter procedure: application to an enzyme immunoassay. Ohkuma, H., Abe, K., Kosaka, Y., Maeda, M. Luminescence : the journal of biological and chemical luminescence. (2000) [Pubmed]
  21. Removal of twelve C-terminal amino acids from firefly luciferase abolishes activity. Sala-Newby, G., Kalsheker, N., Campbell, A.K. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (1990) [Pubmed]
  22. Synthesis of dinucleoside polyphosphates catalyzed by firefly luciferase. Sillero, M.A., Guranowski, A., Sillero, A. Eur. J. Biochem. (1991) [Pubmed]
  23. Molecular cloning and expression of the cDNAs encoding luciferin-regenerating enzyme from Luciola cruciata and Luciola lateralis. Gomi, K., Hirokawa, K., Kajiyama, N. Gene (2002) [Pubmed]
  24. Purification and characterization of luciferases from fireflies, Luciola cruciata and Luciola lateralis. Kajiyama, N., Masuda, T., Tatsumi, H., Nakano, E. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (1992) [Pubmed]
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