American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A chemical substance present in the cells of bioluminescent organisms, such as fireflies, that produces an almost heatless, bluish-green light when oxidized under the catalytic effects of luciferase and ATP.
- n. biochemistry Any of a class of polycyclic heterocycles that are responsible for the bioluminescence of fireflies, being converted to oxyluciferin by luciferase in the process.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Biochem.) any of several substances found in luminescent organisms (such as the firefly, Photinus pyralis) which, when oxidized, produces an almost heatless light. It was first isolated from fireflies, and is the source of the firefly luminescence. See also firefly luciferin
- n. pigment occurring in luminescent organisms (as fireflies); emits heatless light when undergoing oxidation
- Latin lūcifer, light-bringing; see Lucifer + -in. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“He told me that luciferin is extremely unstable and rapidly decomposes in the presence of oxygen, and also that Professor Newton Harvey of Princeton University had been trying to purify luciferin for the past 20 years but had been unsuccessful.”
“It is produced when oxygen, breathed in through the abdominal trachea, combines with a substance called luciferin in the presence of the enzyme luciferase, in special cells called photocytes.”
“This enzyme uses ATP to power a chemical reaction in which a chemical (called luciferin) is oxidized, emitting a photon in the process.”
“The light is created when oxygen combines with a substance called luciferin in the presence of the enzyme luciferase, in special cells called photocytes.”
“I also studied the properties of GFP and resolved a controversy regarding the role of a dioxetane intermediate in the luminescence reaction of firefly luciferin.”
“I also performed research on dinoflagellate luciferin and luminous scale worms.”
“Our first paper on Cypridina luciferin was published in 1957, although the chromophore structure of luciferin remained to be elucidated.”
“With that material, Kishi successfully determined the structure of the luciferin the next year.”
“He explained to me that Cypridina, a small crustacean common in shallow coastal waters of Japan, emits light with an organic compound called luciferin and an enzyme, luciferase.”
“From frozen Cypridina, we extracted luciferin and then purified and crystallized the luciferin.”
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