A secreted luciferase from the marine ostracod, Vargula hilgendorfii, is a useful tool for gene expression assays in living mammalian cells. We have cloned the cDNA of a new secreted luciferase from the ostracod Cypridina noctiluca, which inhabits the coast of Japan. C. noctiluca luciferase consists of 553 amino acid residues with a molecular mass of 61,415 Da, as deduced from the nucleotide sequence. The homologies of nucleotide and amino acid sequences with V. hilgendorfii luciferase are 79.2% and 83.1%, respectively. C. noctiluca luciferase can expressed in and secreted from cultured mammalian cells. The characteristic properties of expressed C. noctiluca luciferase are similar to those of V. hilgendorfii luciferase. However, the activity of C. noctiluca luciferase in culture medium is much higher than that of V. hilgendorfii luciferase, suggesting that C. noctiluca luciferase is a highly potent reporter enzyme for real-time and continuous monitoring of gene expression in living cells.
2004 by Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry