Protein of the Month

 

November: Luciferase
Origin: P. pyralis is a flying beetle with a light organ on its abdomen. The bioluminescence has been implied both as a predator warning signal of toxicity and for mate selection.
Action: Firefly luciferase is a protein that catalyzes the production of light. It has been used to track tumour cells, bacterial and viral infections, and much more.
How: The enzyme requires ATP, molecular oxygen, and the heterocyclic compound, firefly luciferin, to generate light in a two-step process.
Did you know? Before the development of safety lamps in the 19th century, fireflies were sometimes used as weak light sources in coal mines.
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