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Definition of "luciferase" [lu•cif•er•ase]

  • An enzyme present in the cells of bioluminescent organisms that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin and ATP, producing light. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "luciferase" in a sentence
  • "To track leukemia onset and response to therapy, the scientists tagged all leukemia cells with a gene from fireflies that encodes an enzyme called luciferase, which makes leukemia cells glow and detectable by a ultrasensitive camera."
  • "The Swedes would add one base of DNA at a time first A then C then G then T and, starting with the release of pyrophosphate, use a clever chemical domino effect involving an enzyme called luciferase, extracted from fireflies, to turn the chemical cue into a pulse of light."
  • "Firefly larvae start out their lives chomping on escargot, and then evolve into glamorous flying creatures who manufacture an enzyme called luciferase, which is all glowy and also can be used to tell if cows are sick."