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Molecular evolution of Cypridina noctiluca secretory luciferase for production of spectrum-shifted luminescence-emitting mutants and their application in nuclear receptor-reporter assays.

Luciferase is a popular enzyme used for biological analyses, such as reporter assays. In addition to a conventional reporter assay using a pair of firefly and Renilla luciferases, a simple multicolor reporter assay using multiple firefly or beetle luciferases emitting different color luminescence with a single substrate has been reported. Secretory luciferases have also been used for convenient sample preparation in reporter assays; however, reporter assay using secretory luciferase mutants that emit spectrum-shifted luminescence have not yet been reported. In this study, we generated blue- and red-shifted (-16 and 12 nm) luminescence-emitting Cypridina secretory luciferase (CLuc) mutants using multiple cycles of random and site-directed mutagenesis. Even for red-shifted CLuc mutant, which exhibited relatively low activity and stability, its enzymatic activity was sufficiently high for a luciferase assay (3.26 × 106 relative light unit/s), light emission was sufficiently prolonged (half-life is 3 min), and stability at 37°C was high. We independently determined the luminescence of these CLuc mutants using a luminometer with an optical filter. Finally, we replaced the commonly used reporters, firefly and Renilla luciferases used in a conventional nuclear receptor-reporter assay with these CLuc mutants and established a secretory luciferase-based single-substrate dual-color nuclear receptor-reporter assay.

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