Nucleic acid sequences encoding luciferase for expression in filamentous fungi

Bioluminescence is the light produced in certain organisms as a result of luciferase-mediated oxidation reactions. The luciferase genes, e.g., the genes from luminous beetle and, in particular the luciferase from Photinus pyralis, are very useful luminescent reporter genes. Despite its utility as a reporter, native luciferase is not generally useful in many organisms, including the filamentous fungi, because of low expression levels.

Dartmouth researchers in collaboration with their colleagues from the University of Minnesota have now produced a novel nucleic acid sequence encoding a luciferase enzyme which has a >100 fold higher level of in vivo expression in organisms with a bias for cytosine (C) or guanine (G) in the third position of the codon than has been achievable with native firefly luciferase reporter genes. Improved expression should result in greater reliability and convenience as a genetic reporter in various microbial systems including filamentous fungi (e.g., Neurospora, Aspergillus, Phythophthora.), Gram-positive bacteria (e.g., Arthrobacter, Streptomyces, Mycobacterium, Pseudomonas), trypanosomes, and select vertebrates. Such applications include the detection, location and measurement of gene expression in filamentous fungi; measurement of enzymes, intracellular signaling and other turnover reactions in cells or fluids; DNA and RNA binding assays; and immunoassay and other protein assays.

This technology is claimed in the published Patent Corporation Treaty Application No. PCT/US2005/035325. We are seeking an industrial partner interested in its commercialization. (Ref: J284)

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