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Firefly Luciferase Degradation Slowed by Inhibitor Compound

Many systems used to discover drugs rely on cells genetically engineered to contain a firefly luciferase reporter gene to gauge the activity of chemical compounds. If the luciferase enzyme emits a bright signal in test readouts, it usually means a compound is active. In such systems, if the signal is dim or nonexistent, the compound usually is not active. In many luciferase-based systems (top illustration), cells produce a low background level of luciferase enzyme that breaks down over time, generating a dim signal in test readouts. NIH researchers have discovered a family of compounds that generate surprisingly bright signals in test readouts even when inactive (bottom illustration). In this situation, the compounds inhibit luciferase in a way that stabilizes the enzyme and slows its breakdown, producing a bright signal that can be mistaken for genuine activity

Date:January 26, 2009
Credit:Jane Ades and Doug Auld, Ph.D., NHGRI
Dimensions:1521 x 1079
File Size:120 Kb
Rights:PublicExcept where otherwise noted, this image is in the public domain and may be used, linked or reproduced without permission. If you use an image, please credit the source listed above with a link back to where possible. Thank you!

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