lu·​cif·​er·​ase | \ lü-ˈsi-fə-ˌrās How to pronounce luciferase (audio) , -ˌrāz \

Definition of luciferase

: an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin

Examples of luciferase in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One type of cell in the gland secretes a luciferase enzyme, while a second type of cell secretes the substrate vargulin. Quanta Magazine, 16 Aug. 2021 For example, scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston used luciferase enzymes to accelerate vaccine development and diagnostic testing. Adrienne Dunn, USA TODAY, 23 Apr. 2021 Inside certain cells of bioluminescent organisms an enzyme called luciferase catalyzes a light-producing reaction between a pigment called luciferin and oxygen. Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, 5 Aug. 2010 Wright was open to dialogue about her stance, and noted that people have a right to question what goes into their bodies and also expressed concerns about the enzyme luciferase. Brooklyn White, Essence, 4 Dec. 2020 Arayomi also questioned the name of an enzyme used in the research process, luciferase, due to his religious studies and the history of the name Lucifer. Brooklyn White, Essence, 4 Dec. 2020 Its enzyme luciferase acts upon a compound called luciferin to emit light, much as fireflies do. Ellen Nibali,, 29 Oct. 2020 The light is produced inside the tiny dinoflagellates body thanks to two chemicals: the enzyme luciferase and the compound luciferin. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 27 Apr. 2020 The fireflies were then ground up for its enzymes luciferin and luciferase, which give it its bioluminescent capabilities. Dan Radel, USA TODAY, 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'luciferase.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of luciferase

1888, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for luciferase

International Scientific Vocabulary, from luciferin

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Time Traveler for luciferase

Time Traveler

The first known use of luciferase was in 1888

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Dictionary Entries Near luciferase



Lucifer hummingbird

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Statistics for luciferase

Last Updated

26 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Luciferase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for luciferase


lu·​cif·​er·​ase | \ lü-ˈsif-ə-ˌrās, -ˌrāz How to pronounce luciferase (audio) \

Medical Definition of luciferase

: an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin

More from Merriam-Webster on luciferase Encyclopedia article about luciferase


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