Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Focus: Luciferase Reporter Assays

Reporter genes like luciferase are one of the most fundamental and useful tools in a molecular biologist’s tool box. As popular and as useful as something like Firefly Luciferase is, it isn’t ideal for every application. At 61kDa, it’s large enough that as a fusion protein, it may interfere with some of the processes it’s intended to track. Luciferase substrate, D-luciferin, produces detectable levels of background luminescence that interfere with detecting biologically relevant signals from the reporter itself. And any luciferase reporter would be more useful if it could be detected at lower levels.

Firefly LuciferasePromega’s new NanoLuc LuciferaseTM reporter (isolated from a deep sea shrimp) is an enhanced tool for researchers. It’s more than three times smaller than Firefly Luciferase, so it’s less likely to interfere with biological processes. Nanoluc’s substrate produces lower levels of background luminescence than traditional luciferase assays and the NanLuc enzyme itself emits light about 100x brighter than Firefly. This means that researchers are more likely to see low levels of activity and also design assays that work at biologically relevant concentrations. Thousands of BMG LABTECH customers use Promega’s reporter genes on our microplate readers  daily and we know they are excited to try the newest one out too.

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