Coumarin luciferins and mutant luciferases for robust multi-component bioluminescence imaging

Zi Yao, Donald R. Caldwell, Anna C. Love, Bethany Kolbaba-Kartchner, Jeremy H. Mills, Martin J. Schnermann, Jennifer A. Prescher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Multi-component bioluminescence imaging requires an expanded collection of luciferase-luciferin pairs that emit far-red or near-infrared light. Toward this end, we prepared a new class of luciferins based on a red-shifted coumarin scaffold. These probes (CouLuc-1s) were accessed in a two-step sequenceviadirect modification of commercial dyes. The bioluminescent properties of the CouLuc-1 analogs were also characterized, and complementary luciferase enzymes were identified using a two-pronged screening strategy. The optimized enzyme-substrate pairs displayed robust photon outputs and emitted a significant portion of near-infrared light. The CouLuc-1 scaffolds are also structurally distinct from existing probes, enabling rapid multi-component imaging. Collectively, this work provides novel bioluminescent tools along with a blueprint for crafting additional fluorophore-derived probes for multiplexed imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11684-11691
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Science
Issue number35
StatePublished - Sep 21 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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