Aequorin variants with improved bioluminescence properties

E. Dikici, X. Qu, L. Rowe, L. Millner, C. Logue, S. K. Deo, M. Ensor, S. Daunert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The photoprotein aequorin has been widely used as a bioluminescent label in immunoassays, for the determination of calcium concentrations in vivo, and as a reporter in cellular imaging. It is composed of apoaequorin (189 amino acid residues), the imidazopyrazine chromophore coelenterazine and molecular oxygen. The emission characteristics of aequorin can be changed by rational design of the protein to introduce mutations in its structure, as well as by substituting different coelenterazine analogues to yield semi-synthetic aequorins. Variants of aequorin were created by mutating residues His16, Met19, Tyr82, Trp86, Trp108, Phe113 and Tyr132. Forty-two aequorin mutants were prepared and combined with 10 different coelenterazine analogues in a search for proteins with different emission wavelengths, altered decay kinetics and improved stability. This spectral tuning strategy resulted in semi-synthetic photoprotein mutants with significantly altered bioluminescent properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalProtein Engineering, Design and Selection
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Aequorin
  • Bioluminescence
  • Coelenterazine analogues
  • Emission wavelength
  • Mutagenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Biology


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