Mechanochemical analogues have recently been established for several enzymatic reactions, but they require periodic interruption of the reaction for sampling, dissolution, and (bio)chemical analysis to monitor their progress. By applying a mechanochemical procedure to induce bioluminescence analogous to that used by the marine ostracod Cypridina (Vargula) hilgendorfii, here we demonstrate that the light emitted by a bioluminescent reaction can be used to directly monitor the progress of a mechanoenzymatic reaction without sampling. Mechanical treatment of Cypridina luciferase with luciferin generates bright blue light which can be readily detected and analyzed spectroscopically. This mechanically assisted bioluminescence proceeds through a mechanism identical to that of bioluminescence in solution, but has higher activation energy due to being diffusion-controlled in the viscous matrix. The results suggest that luciferases could be used as light-emissive reporters of mechanoenzymatic reactions.
- solvent-assisted reactions
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