PROSITE documentation PDOC00397
Bacterial luciferase subunits signature


Luminous bacteria are abundant and widely distributed Gram-negative motile rods. The enzyme responsible for bioluminescence, bacterial luciferase [1,2,3] (EC, catalyzes the oxidation of reduced riboflavin phosphate (FMNH2) and a long chain fatty aldehyde with the emission of blue green light (490 nm). Luciferase is a heterodimeric enzyme composed of an α subunit (gene luxA) and a β subunit (gene luxB). The two subunits appear to have arisen by gene duplication.

The bioluminescence operon of some species of Photobacterium encodes a protein known as the non-fluorescent flavoprotein (NFP) (gene luxF). NFP, whose function is not yet known, contains an unusual non-covalently bound flavin. It is evolutionary related to the luxA/luxB subunits.

As a signature for this family, we selected a conserved region located in the central part of these proteins.

Last update:

June 1994 / Text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

BACTERIAL_LUCIFERASE, PS00494; Bacterial luciferase subunits signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsMeighen E.A.
TitleMolecular biology of bacterial bioluminescence.
SourceMicrobiol. Rev. 55:123-142(1991).
PubMed ID2030669

2AuthorsMeighen E.A.
TitleBacterial bioluminescence: organization, regulation, and application of the lux genes.
SourceFASEB J. 7:1016-1022(1993).
PubMed ID8370470

3AuthorsO'Kane D.J.O. Prasher D.C.
SourceMol. Microbiol. 6:443-449(1992).

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