Shine enantio-tools for preparative chemist

In the beginning it was only to help beetle to mate. Then it became a reporter gene in transfection assays. Finally it was the main character of bioluminescence imaging (BLI), as a way to detect bacterial pathogens in living hosts first, then as a way to monitor tumor growth, measuring protein-protein interactions, observing the trafficking of immune cells, and to study gene expression in vivo. Not a surprise that its bioluminescent properties represent a routine in drug development in pharmaceutical industry. Obviously, we are talking about firefly luciferase (fLuc). Now, at University of Hyogo, the similarity of the the sequences between firefly luciferase and some acyl-CoA synthetase (so-called LACS1), lead Dai-Ichiro Kato and colleagues to hypothize and demonstrate that this bright enzyme has also thioesterification activity versus some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ketoprofen. These results, published in Vol 274 of FEBS Journal, a collector of papers that advance new concepts in the area of molecular life sciences, suggest that this old reporter gene would be also a new option for the preparative chemist.

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Kato, D., Teruya, K., Yoshida, H., Takeo, M., Negoro, S., & Ohta, H. (2007). New application of firefly luciferase - it can catalyze the enantioselective thioester formation of 2-arylpropanoic acid FEBS Journal, 274 (15), 3877-3885 DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.05921.x