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Fluorescence anisotropy decay study of self-association of bacterial luciferase intermediates

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The fluorescence dynamics parameters of the fluorescent transient flavin-luciferase species from the typesVibrio fischeri andPhotobacterium leiognathi are presented. The fluorescence anisotropy decay is a single exponential function for both types. The correlation time is 70 ns for theP. leiognathi fluorescent transient intermediate (2°C, aqueous buffer, pH 7.0), consistent with the rotational correlation time of the luciferase macromolecule (77 kD) to which the flavin fluorophore is rigidly attached. In contrast, for theV. fischeri species the observed correlation time for the anisotropy decay function is 133 ns. This suggests that protein self-association occurs in theV. fischeri case and this is confirmed by filtration, where the fluorescent transient fromV. fischeri does not pass through a 100,000 molecular weight cutoff membrane, whereas theP. leiognathi species does. The filtration method also demonstrates self-association in the luciferase peroxyflavin and photoflavin fromV. fischeri. A monomer-dimer equilibrium also explains the previously reported high correlation times for theV. harveyi luciferase-flavin species. It is proposed that the self-association competes with the lumazine protein interaction in the bioluminescence reaction.

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Correspondence to John Lee.

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Lee, J., Wang, Y. & Gibson, B.G. Fluorescence anisotropy decay study of self-association of bacterial luciferase intermediates. J Fluoresc 1, 23–29 (1991).

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Key Words

  • Fluorescence anisotropy
  • rotational correlation time
  • protein association
  • bacterial luciferase
  • bioluminescence