lu·cif·er·ase | \lü-ˈsi-fə-ˌrās, -ˌrāz\

Definition of luciferase 

: an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin

Examples of luciferase in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Like many bioluminescent animals their light is created by a reaction between the light-emitting molecule luciferin and the enzyme luciferase. National Geographic, "Living Fireworks, These Animals Produce Light Shows with Their Bodies," 30 June 2018 The team engineered this regulator to control the third and final part of the genetic circuit, which is a set of genes that encodes a luminescence system—resulting in a bioluminescent enzyme called luciferase—from Photorhabdus luminescens. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "This capsule of glowing E. coli will probe your gut for signs of trouble," 25 May 2018 To turn leaves into a light source, Strano uses luciferase, the enzyme responsible for a firefly’s glow. Mark Ellwood, WSJ, "Your Next Desk Lamp: A Plant That Glows?," 15 May 2018 For the creation researchers used luciferase, the same enzyme that gives fireflies their glow. Emily Price, Fortune, "MIT Researchers Have Created Glowing Plants That Might One Day Replace Lights," 15 Dec. 2017 In fireflies, luciferase binds to another chemical called luciferin, which causes a reaction that emits light. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "MIT Researchers Want to Make Glow-In-the-Dark Plants," 14 Dec. 2017 The firefly gene that codes for luciferase is very similar to a common fatty acid-making gene, Lewis says. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "How Fireflies Glow (and What Really Turns Them On)," 2 July 2016 Three chemicals -- luciferase, luciferin and ATP -- combine to produce the firefly's characteristic glow. Karen Farkas,, "Have fireflies disappeared? And 10 things you may not know about them," 24 July 2017 Every organism has its own version of luciferin and luciferase, with individual properties that could prove useful. Joanna Klein, The Seattle Times, "Hunting mushrooms that glow on your path," 4 May 2017

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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The first known use of luciferase was in 1888

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lu·cif·er·ase | \lü-ˈsif-ə-ˌrās, -ˌrāz \

Medical Definition of luciferase 

: an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin

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