Firefly luciferase is targeted to peroxisomes in mammalian cells

G. A. Keller, S. Gould, M. Deluca, S. Subramani

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131 Scopus citations


Although several enzymes known to reside in peroxisomes have been studied extensively, no cis-acting amino acid sequences involved in the transport of these proteins to peroxisomes have been described. As a first step towards the determination of a putative peroxisomal targeting sequence, we have expressed the cDNA encoding the firefly luciferase [Photinus-luciferin:oxygen 4-oxidoreductase (decarboxylating, ATP-hydrolyzing), EC] in monkey kidney cells and found that the product of the gene is transported to peroxisomes. Luciferase is derived from the firefly (Photinus pyralis) and is synthesized and stored in the cells of the firefly's lantern organ, where it is also found in peroxisomes. The fact that this protein is similarly targeted in cells from such different organisms suggests that the process of protein transport to peroxisomes has been highly conserved through evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3264-3268
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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