Mechanism of Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence Elucidated by Use of Oxygen-18

  • Marlene DeLuca
  • Mary E. Dempsey


The purpose of this report is to summarize our recent studies designed to elucidate the mechanisms of several bio- and chemiluminescent systems. We are using oxygen-18 as tracer for events occurring on a molecular level during light emission. The accuracy and validity of the oxygen-18 methodology has been extensively examined. Some previously unpublished methodology is included in this report. We have studied the oxidation of firefly and sea pansy (Renilla reniformis) luciferin catalyzed by firefly and sea pansy luciferase (1,2) and also the oxidation of firefly luciferyl-adenylate in the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide and potassium t-butoxide, chemiluminescence. (3) Our data indicate that striking similarities must exist in the mechanisms of bio- and chemiluminescence. We found that CO2 is produced during substrate oxida-tion and light emission in all these systems and that oxygen present in the CO2 arises from water rather than molecular oxygen. These findings have permitted us to develop new mechanisms for the oxidative reactions occurring during luminescence in these systems.


Quantum Yield Reaction Vessel Water Oxygen Light Reaction Mass Spectral Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    DeLuca, M., and Dempsey, M.E., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 40, 117 (1970)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    DeLuca, M., Dempsey, M.E., Hori, K., Wampler, J.E. and Cormier, M.J., Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 68 1658 (1971).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    DeLuca, M.,and Dempsey, M.E., manuscript in preparation.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Boyer, P.D. and Bryan, D.M., in “Methods in Enzymology”, Vol. 10 (Estabrook, P.W. and Pullman, M.E., Eds.), New York, Academic Press, Inc., 1967, p. 60.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Boyer, P.D., Graves, D.J., Suelter, C.H., and Dempsey, M.E., Anal. Chem., 33, 1906 (1961).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Krebs, H.A., and Roughton, F.J.W., Biochem. J., 43 550 (1948).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ho, C., and Sturtevant, J.M.., J. Biol. Chem., 238, 3499 (1963).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gibbons, B.H., and Edsall, J.T., J. Biol. Chem. 238, 3502 (1963).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cooper, T.G., Tchen, T.T., Wood, H.G., and Benedict, C.R., J. Biol. Chem., 243, 3857 (1968).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shimomura, O., and Johnson, F.H., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 44, 340 (1971).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    McCapra, F., Chem. Comm. 155 (1968).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hopkins, T.A., Seliger, H.H., White, E.H. and Cass, M.W., J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 89, 7148 (1967).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Richardson, W.H., and Steed, R.F., J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 32, 771 (1967).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fuson, R.C., and Jackson, H.L., J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 72, 1637 (1950).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Seliger, H.H., and McElroy, W.D., Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 88, 136 (1960).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Martin, D., Weise, A., and Niclas, H., Angew, J. Chem. Intl. Ed. 6, 318 (1967).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rauhut, M.M., Accts. of Chem. Res. 2, 80 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlene DeLuca
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mary E. Dempsey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations