IUBMB Enzyme Nomenclature


Accepted name: L-firefly luciferin—CoA ligase

Reaction: ATP + L-firefly luciferin + CoA = AMP + diphosphate + L-firefly luciferyl-CoA

Glossary: L-firefly luciferin = (R)-4,5-dihydro-2-(6-hydroxy-1,3-benzothiazol-2-yl)thiazole-4-carboxylate

Other name(s): LUC

Systematic name: (R)-4,5-dihydro-2-(6-hydroxy-1,3-benzothiazol-2-yl)thiazole-4-carboxylate:CoA ligase (AMP-forming)

Comments: This is an alternative activity of the firefly luciferase (EC, which the enzyme exhibits under normal conditions only when acting on the L-enantiomer of its substrate. The D-isomer can act as a substrate for the CoA–ligase activity in vitro only under low oxygen conditions that are not found in vivo. The activation of L-firefly luciferin to a CoA ester is a step in a recycling pathway that results in its epimerization to the D enantiomer, which is the only substrate whose oxygenation results in light emission.

Links to other databases: BRENDA, EXPASY, KEGG, MetaCyc, CAS registry number:


1. Fraga, H., Esteves da Silva, J.C. and Fontes, R. Identification of luciferyl adenylate and luciferyl coenzyme a synthesized by firefly luciferase. Chembiochem 5 (2004) 110-115. [PMID: 14695520]

2. Nakamura, M., Maki, S., Amano, Y., Ohkita, Y., Niwa, K., Hirano, T., Ohmiya, Y. and Niwa, H. Firefly luciferase exhibits bimodal action depending on the luciferin chirality. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 331 (2005) 471-475. [PMID: 15850783]

3. Viviani, V.R., Scorsato, V., Prado, R.A., Pereira, J.G., Niwa, K., Ohmiya, Y. and Barbosa, J.A. The origin of luciferase activity in Zophobas mealworm AMP/CoA-ligase (protoluciferase): luciferin stereoselectivity as a switch for the oxygenase activity. Photochem Photobiol Sci 9 (2010) 1111-1119. [PMID: 20526507]

4. Maeda, J., Kato, D.I., Okuda, M., Takeo, M., Negoro, S., Arima, K., Ito, Y. and Niwa, K. Biosynthesis-inspired deracemizative production of D-luciferin by combining luciferase and thioesterase. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1861 (2017) 2112-2118. [PMID: 28454735]

[EC created 2017]

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