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 The light is produced inside the tiny dinoflagellates body thanks to two chemicals: the enzyme luciferase and the compound luciferin. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Watch ‘Glow-in-the-Dark’ Dolphins Play in California’s Bioluminescent Water," 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, "Fireflies are dying out because people are destroying their habitats," 1 Aug. 2019 Presumably the first luciferin-luciferase pair would have survived and multiplied. Quanta Magazine, "In the Deep, Clues to How Life Makes Light," 1 Dec. 2016 In 1986, scientists at the University of California, San Diego, modified and inserted the firefly luciferase gene into a tobacco plant. Quanta Magazine, "In the Deep, Clues to How Life Makes Light," 1 Dec. 2016 The type of luciferase enzyme found in the fireworm were brand new: they have never been detected in any other species. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "These Tiny Fireworms Light up to Make Love," 11 Aug. 2018 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

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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Statistics for luciferase

Cite this Entry

“Luciferase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2020.

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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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