Mechanically Assisted Bioluminescence with Natural Luciferase

Stefan Schramm, Marieh B. Al-Handawi, Durga Prasad Karothu, Anastasiya Kurlevskaya, Patrick Commins, Yasuo Mitani, Chun Wu, Yoshihiro Ohmiya, Panče Naumov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16485-16489
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 14 2020


  • Cypridina
  • bioluminescence
  • luciferase
  • mechanochemistry
  • solvent-assisted reactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanically Assisted Bioluminescence with Natural Luciferase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this