Zhao Group
School of Chemical Biology & Biotechnology

Special luciferase tracks cellular processes when activated with light



Mechanism-Based Design of a Photoactivatable Firefly Luciferase

Jingyi Zhao †‡, Shixian Lin ‡, Yong Huang †, Jing Zhao *†, and Peng R. Chen *‡§

Being able to control protein activity with respect to time and location with pulses of laser light has become an increasingly important scientific pursuit to understand how proteins work together. In a paper just out in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers demonstrated a new fluorescent marker based on the well-known luciferase method. This new marker allowed the investigators to track dynamic ATP fluctuation within living cells, something that couldn’t be done with other fluorescent markers.