Friday, December 2, 2011

Focus on Luminescence

Luminescence is a key analytical technique in many life science experiments. The light measured from the samples is the result of a chemical or biochemical reaction (instead of being the result of excitation by light). Thus luminescence is split into bioluminescence or chemiluminescence and does not require a light source or an excitation filter. Just a light detector, a photomultiplier tube (PMT) is needed. Because there is typically no luminescent background signal, luminescence assays can acheive very good limits of detection.

Common luminescence applications include:
  • Luciferase reporter gene assays, promoter analyses

  • ELISA immunoassays based on luminescence

  • Cell-based assays (e.g. apoptosis and viability)

  • Intracellular Ca2+ detection with aequorin

  • ATP assays (e.g. Mycoplasma contaminations of cell cultures)

  • GUS assays (ß-glucuronidase)

  • ROS (reactive oxygen species) determination

  • BRET assay for monitoring intermolecular interactions
Examples of commercially available assays include Caspase-Glo™, CYP450-Glo™ and Dual-Luciferase Reporter (DLR®).

BMG LABTECH offers a variety of luminometers and multi-mode microplate readers that are also capable of reading luminescence based assays. For a list of BMG LABTECH luminescence microplate readers visit:

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